06/01/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Freehold, NJ – A 44-year-old man from Spring Lake Heights was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Tuesday, June 1, 2010, after being found guilty of 10 counts of child endangerment, as reported by the Asbury Park Press. The man was a former and once-popular Catholic high school baseball coach.
Bartholomew McInerney, a former coach for St. Rose High School, will be eligible for parole in three years and seven months, according to state Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci.
The judge also ordered that McInerney register under the Megan’s Law when he is released, and that he remain on parole for the rest of his life.
McInerney’s attorney claimed an appeal was under consideration, including for the verdict and sentence.
In January of 2010, McInerney was convicted of 10 counts of child endangerment. He was acquitted of an 11th count and a 12th count was dismissed by the judge.
McInerney has claimed innocence through the trial. The prosecutors claimed otherwise, though, stating the man known as “Coach Bart” engaged in sexually explicit conversations with boys between the ages of 15 and 17. He allegedly encouraged the boys to masturbate and offered to pay some of them to send him coded text about the act, according to authorities.
While the victims were not all named, the judge read portions of letters he received from them. The letters documented the embarrassment and stress they felt, while one in particular expressed living in fear.
McInerney apologized to the families of the boys in court, saying, “I would never, ever intentionally hurt a player that I coached.”
During the trial, 12 of McInerney’s victims testified against him. Most of them were former baseball players.
The mother of a 13th teen believed to have been victim to the coach’s actions attended the sentencing. The young man had transferred from St. Rose to another High School after McInerney was arrested. In June 2008, 18-year-old Andrew Clark was struck and killed by a train in Spring Lake.
His death was never ruled an accident or suicide, but a lawsuit filed on behalf of his estate claims the coach “sexually abused, harassed and endangered” the boy. The lawsuit names McInerney and St. Rose as defendants. The lawsuit was delayed as it was waiting for the criminal proceedings to finish.
St. Rose has denied wrongdoing.
Address: Freehold, NJ
Phone: (866) 598-1315