Ex-Viking Scott pleads guilty to child endangerment

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2008 - 6:45 AM

Darrion Scott, who called putting a bag over a toddler's head "stupid and reckless," had assault charges dropped and he likely won't go to jail.

A former Minnesota Vikings player admitted that putting a plastic dry cleaning bag over his 2-year-old son's head was "stupid and reckless" and pleaded guilty Monday to child endangerment.

Darrion Scott, 26, entered the plea on the day that jury selection was scheduled to begin for felony third-degree assault and domestic assault by strangulation following the April 28 incident at his Eden Prairie townhouse.

According to the criminal complaint, the boy's mother heard the child's muffled cries and found Scott, 6 feet 3 inches and 290 pounds, holding the bag over the boy's head. She said that the boy was on his back on the floor, his legs kicking, and that Scott was holding the bag tightly around the boy's neck.

Those charges were dropped in return for Scott's admission to child endangerment. The gross misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year in prison, and prosecutors say it is unlikely that he will serve any jail time.

In his statement, Scott, who was a defensive lineman for the Vikings, said he was attempting to entertain the boy, identified in court as L.D., by putting the bag on his own head while dancing and pretending to be the "boogeyman."

When the toddler became upset, Scott said he took the bag off his own head and placed it on his son's head to show that it wouldn't hurt him.

When the boy became even more upset, Scott said he tried to take the bag off but it became hooked on his son's chin. He claimed he was holding the struggling boy down to get the bag off when his mother entered the room.

Scott admitted he used poor judgment in using the bag as a toy, which was clearly marked as dangerous to children.

"There is no question in my mind that what I did was stupid and reckless," Scott said.

Scott's attorney, Joe Friedberg, said the child endangerment charge was something Scott "could plead guilty to in good conscience."

"It's bad enough for what it is," he said. "It's stupid to put a plastic bag over a youngster's head like that."

That said, Friedberg said Scott is a good father who wants the best for his two young children. Though a protective order currently keeps him from seeing his son, he will continue to financially support him and hopes to be involved in his life soon.

Scott's sentencing is set for July 24, scheduled so as not to interfere with NFL training camps.

A native of Charleston, W.Va., Scott was a third-round pick in the 2004 draft out of Ohio State. He played in 48 games with the Vikings. He is a free agent and led the team in sacks in 2006.

Scott, who was dressed in a sweater and tie, answered calmly when asked questions by the judge and prosecutor, who clarified whether he was aware of warnings about the dangers of placing plastic bags over a child's head. Scott answered that he was.

He will also undergo a psychological evaluation.

The agreement also stipulated that Scott was not responsible for burn marks on the boy's ear, marks on his legs and an eye bruise. Prosecutors added that though the injuries were listed in the criminal complaint against Scott, he was not charged with causing them.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said prosecutors were pleased with the plea agreement, saying that it was fair to all parties.

"Did Mr. Scott intend to strangle his child? Did Mr. Scott intend to assault his child to the point of third degree assault? No. Do we believe he endangered the child? Yes," Freeman said. "Was this treated differently because Mr. Scott used to be a Viking? No.

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

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