SENATE, No. 1198


with committee amendments




DATED: MAY 16, 2002


      The Senate Judiciary Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Senate Bill No. 1198.

      This bill concerns assaults against coaches, players and other spectators at youth sports events.

      The bill in its original form defined a "youth sports event" as a competition, practice or instructional event involving one or more interscholastic sports teams or sports teams organized pursuant to a nonprofit or similar charter or which are member teams in a league organized by or affiliated with a county or municipal recreation department. The bill creates a new subsection f. in N.J.S.2C:12-1 to clarify that any person who commits a simple assault upon another in the presence of a child under 16 years of age at one of these events would be guilty of a crime of a fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. Generally simple assault is a disorderly persons offense.

      The new subsection f. being added by the bill is amended to provide for strict liability if a child under 16 years of age is present regardless of the actor's knowledge. The defined term is changed to conform to the phrase used in the bill. Other amendments clarify that the bill addresses youth teams and youth leagues. There is no intent to reach collegiate, semi-pro or professional events. Nor is there any intent to create any liability for a participant or abrogate any available immunities or defenses for participants.