WILMINGTON — On Friday evening, news broke that Richard Foy, head baseball coach at New Hanover High School, had been charged with assaulting a female student. Understandably, parents and residents had a lot of questions.
Those questions include why the incident was not immediately reported, why the coach was served a criminal summons instead of being arrested, whether he has a previous criminal or disciplinary history, and whether the assault was related to a weapons offense that took place at New Hanover High School (NHHS) the following day.
The incident was reported to law enforcement around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, December 12, according to a report from the New Hanover County Sherrif’s Office (NHCSO). According to the report, the incident occurred the prior day, around 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday, December 11. According to the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) and NHCSO, the family met with the school on the day of the alleged assault and then reported it to law enforcement the following day; the family contacted WPD, which forwarded the incident to NHCSO, which has jurisdiction over school-related incidents.
The report does not name Foy or the victim, but does indicate that authorities spoke with the school’s assistant principal and a speech language pathologist as potential witnesses.
NHCSO has since confirmed that Foy, who is also a physical education and health teacher at HHHS, was served a criminal summons for a class A1 misdemeanor, the most serious non-felony class of offense, under state statute 14-33(C)(2), which includes assault on a female by a male over the age of 18. The summons will require Foy to appear in New Hanover County District Court on Thursday morning, January 16, 2020.
New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer confirmed Foy was charged with the assault after allegedly placing his hands around the neck of a female student.
According to Brewer, NHCSO’s policy is to request criminal summons for suspects charged with misdemeanors instead of arresting them.
According to the District Attorney’s office, magistrates have the complete discretion on whether to issue arrest warrants or criminal summons. Spokesperson Samantha Dooies noted that the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts and the UNC School of Government have “provided best practices training and memos encouraging magistrates to consider options other than arrest when appropriate. Considerations are flight risk and safety of others along with prior history of failing to come to court, etc.”
According to the New Hanover County Schools district, Foy is currently suspended with pay; the district confirmed Foy has never previously been suspended (with or without pay). Early reports did not include Foy’s age, and some readers asked if they were the same person; Dooies confirmed that the suspect Richard Foy, 60, is not the Richard Eugene Foy, 52, who was convicted of felony fraud in 1986;
NHCSO also confirmed that alleged assault by Foy on a female student was not related to a weapons charge on Thursday around noon at NHHS. According to Lt. Brewer, a student left campus and was searched when he returned. A knife was found on the student. The student was referred to juvenile court.
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