New Orleans police said Friday that an arrest warrant has been issued for a former volunteer football coach accused of striking a 12-year-old boy with a paddle more than a dozen times — a punishment that caused bruising and swelling in the child’s legs.
The coach, Andre “Dre” Randolph, 40, was being sought on a felony count of cruelty to a juvenile, said Tyler Gamble, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman.
Randolph coached at St. Roch Park, where the boy played on a New Orleans Recreation Development Commission team. But city officials said the coach was removed from the program after the paddling allegations surfaced last month.
The boy missed a game and lost other privileges at home, his mother said, because he had been misbehaving. The mother, who spoke on the condition her name not be printed, said she also took CDs and games out of her son’s room as part of his punishment.
She said Randolph called her at one point to ask why her son had missed the game, and she told him the boy had been disciplined at home.
“At no time did she give ‘Coach Dre’ permission to physically discipline her son,” Detective Nijel Baddoo wrote in a court filing.
The boy told police that after returning to practice, Randolph paddled him 18 times. His mother said the intended punishment had been 10 “licks” but that the number climbed because her son did not keep still.
The mother said she knew something was wrong with her son when she noticed him limping after returning home. She asked him to take off his pants, she said, “and all I saw was burgundy bruises.”
“This gentleman went overboard,” the mother said of Randolph. “He took it upon himself to discipline him in his way, and I told him it was unacceptable.”
The boy’s aunt reported the incident to the authorities on Oct. 1, and Randolph’s volunteer privileges were revoked the following day. The boy’s mother posted photographs of his injuries — which included bruising and swelling to his legs — on Facebook in late September.
Randolph, who remains at large, denied in a telephone interview Friday that he ever struck the child. He suggested the victim had received the injuries elsewhere.
“You’d have to talk to the parents,” Randolph said before hanging up.
Vic Richard, chief executive officer of NORDC, said the coach had been suspended immediately after the boy made the accusations.
“NORDC holds its coaches and staff to the highest expectations of conduct,” Richard said in a statement. “NORDC has a strict no-paddling policy, and violating this policy is unacceptable. All volunteer coaches are informed of this policy at orientation and are required to sign a document providing written acknowledgement of this policy.”
The boy had played at the NORDC facility since he was 5, but his mother said she has since taken him out of the program.
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