(LINTON) - A special prosecutor has recommended that a felony criminal charge be filed against a Linton police officer for actions he allegedly took during a February off-duty incident in the weightlifting room at the Linton-Stockton High School gym.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World, reports a warrant for the arrest of LPD Officer Nicholas "Nick" Yingling was issued Monday in Greene Circuit Court after Judge Erik Allen approved the probable cause affidavit filed in the case.
He's preliminarily charged with neglect of a dependent with the dependent put in a situation endangering the dependent's life/health - a class D felony; and battery resulting in bodily injury - a class A misdemeanor.
Judge Allen set bond at $5,000 surety with 10 percent allowed when the arrest warrant is served.
Yingling's immediate status as a LPD officer will be the subject of a special executive session of the Linton City Board of Works that is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday. That meeting will be followed by a public board of works meeting at 4 p.m. where some kind of action is expected, according to Linton Police Chief Troy Jerrell.
"I do not see it (the warrant) being served rather than him turning himself in. But when that is going to take place, I don't know," Jerrell said.
The board of works has authority over the matter since the alleged incident occurred while Yingling was off-duty and not during his regular working hours, Jerrell explained.
Currently, Yingling is not scheduled to work prior to Thursday's board of works meetings.
Yingling joined the LPD in September 2009, after working at the Linton Fire Department.
In mid-April, Bloomington attorney Barry Brown was appointed by Greene Superior Court Judge Dena Martin to investigate the case involving Yingling, who served as a volunteer Linton-Stockton Junior High football coach.
Yingling had remained on the job with the police until the special prosecutor's investigation was completed.
The case was investigated by Det. Brian Smith of the Indiana State Police Detective Division at the Bloomington Post in cooperation with Greene County Department of Child Services investigator Nina Madden.
When contacted Tuesday morning, Special Prosecutor Brown, who is an experienced lawyer and former Monroe County prosecutor, said he could not comment about the on-going case.
The allegations against Yingling stem from a Feb. 23 incident in the high school weightlifting room.
It is alleged that the 13-year-old male victim, who was engaged in a conditioning and weightlifting training program at the school, was approached from the rear by Yingling, who placed him in a headlock, causing the seventh-grade student to lose consciousness, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by Det. Smith.
During an interview with Det. Smith on March 3, Yingling admitted to the allegation and said after he placed the boy in a head lock, he told him, "I got you now, and you're not going to run from me this time, are you?"
The student further alleged that after Yingling released him, he fell to the floor and struck his head.
The student said he tried to resume his lifting after the incident, but could not continue because of episodes of dizziness, according to the court document.
The boy later contacted his mother and she came to the school and took him home.
Det. Smith noted in the probable cause affidavit that he observed a bruise on the student's left eyelid area, between his eyelid and eyebrow during an interview a few days after the incident.
The boy's mother reported that she has not received any contact or communication from the school regarding the incident and said after her son returned home he became emotional and complained of feeling ill.
The mother also drove her son to the emergency room at a nearby hospital for examination and the attending physician said that her son had suffered "a mild concussion" and she was advised to keep him home from school until further advice from the doctor.
According to the court document, the boy's father, after talking with several of the other coaches at the school, became concerned that Yingling was attempting to cover up the incident by saying that the boy had "fallen."
"It appeared to the (boy's father) that Coach Yingling was minimizing the injuries and he had failed to report the severity of the injuries to anyone at all," Det. Smith wrote.
The detective also wrote that the boy's father was told by Yingling that he (Yingling) had grabbed the student in a neck restraint and that he was swinging the boy off of the ground while he was unconscious.
"As a result when (the boy) was released by Coach Yingling, (he) fell to the ground and physically was unable to break his own fall due to the unconsciousness, causing (the boy's) head to make full, direct, unprotected impact with the floor," Det. Smith wrote in the probable cause.
He continued, "Both parents were concerned and troubled that Coach Yingling did not report this incident to parties who could have rendered immediate medical assistance for (the boy) following the incident. Both parents further expressed concerns that Coach Yingling had seriously failed in his duty as a coach responsible for his actions and his students to insure the safety and well being of (their son), a dependent in his care."
The detective further stated in the probable cause affidavit that after interviewing several eyewitnesses to the alleged incident that he "believes that this chain of events was foreseeable and preventable."
Linton-Stockton Superintendent Nick Karazsia said Yingling was a volunteer assistant football coach when the incident occurred and is suspended during the investigation.
Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw requested that a special prosecutor be appointed because of Yingling's involvement with the LPD to avoid the appearance of impropriety in both the investigation and potential prosecution of this matter.
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