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December 19, 2014

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Northern Nevada youth coach pleads no contest to battery charge

MINDEN — A Nevada youth soccer coach accused of striking a referee after a game has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge.

East Fork Justice Tom Perkins banned Elizabeth Deaton, 30, from coaching youth sports for two years and from attending any youth sports activities for the rest of 2014 after she entered the plea Wednesday.

The judge also ordered her to complete 48 hours of community service and to pay restitution, saying her on-field behavior in front of children and parents last Oct. 12 in Gardnerville was "reprehensible."

"Treating other parents, volunteers, coaches like this under any circumstances just models the worst of behavior for children," Perkins said.

The volunteer referee testified Wednesday that Deaton rushed her, shouted obscenities and struck her in the chest after she nullified a goal made by the coach's team, the Record-Courier of Gardnerville reported.

The referee said she suffered a ruptured disc as she twisted away from Deaton, and it took a number of adults to get the coach under control before sheriff's deputies arrived. Deaton, whose team won anyway, coached children under the age of 10.

Her attorney, David Houston, said his client has sent written apologies to the victim, her players and their parents, and the American Youth Soccer Organization board.

While there were differing accounts about the incident, Deaton accepted responsibility for the victim's out-of-pocket medical bills of more than $2,000, he said.

At the time, Houston said, Deaton was in the middle of a "very contentious" custody battle and divorce. She has since remarried and undergone anger-management counseling.

"This situation is totally out of character as concerns my client. She is truly a different person," he said.

Deaton apologized to the victim in court Wednesday.

"I was out of line," she said. "It was bad judgment on my part, and I hope you can forgive me."

Deaton faced up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

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