ROHNERT PARK, Calif. -- A girls rugby coach was beaten until
he was bloody and unconscious during a weekend match, and police
are seeking criminal charges against several adults.
"I never saw them coming," said Craig Stewart, 55, who was kicked in the head and face by another coach and parents during a game
Saturday, according to witnesses and police.
The violence erupted during a tournament game between the
Rohnert Park Girls Rugby Club and Stewart's team, the Alameda High
School Riptide club team.
The conflict began when referee Paul Berman, 33, ordered a
spectator off the field. He was punched in the face three times by
the brother of the coach of the Rohnert Park team, police Sgt. Art
Stewart intervened to help Berman and held the attacker on the
ground until police arrived, detectives said. The Rohnert Park
coach and up to eight spectators then descended on Stewart, Sweeney
Stewart was taken to Kaiser Medical Center in Santa Rosa with
cuts and a head injury. He was recovering at home Sunday. Berman
was treated on the scene for a split lip.
Several of the adults had fled by the time police arrived on the
scene. Authorities were working to identify those involved in the
fight. No one had been arrested by late Sunday.
Charges against the attackers could include battery and assault
with a deadly weapon, Sweeney said.