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Little League Baseball Statement

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Oct. 16, 2002) – The statement below may be attributed to Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball, Incorporated. This statement is in reference to an allegation of an incident at a hotel during the 2002 Big League Baseball Western Region Tournament in late July, in Scottsdale, Ariz. The allegation, made public by various media outlets recently, is that some players on a Big League Baseball team participated in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

“When the allegation came to the attention of the Little League Baseball International Tournament Committee in July, the committee immediately ordered the removal of the team from the tournament, and sent the team home. This action was taken based on information provided by local law enforcement authorities.

“Each summer, in 10 divisions of play, thousands of Little League tournament teams travel to play in tournaments. In every case, when players are housed together such as in hotels or dormitories, the manager and coaches of the team are responsible for the behavior of the players in their care.

“Because a criminal investigation is under way, Little League will not comment on any specifics of the alleged incident. Little League also will not release details on the team or any persons allegedly involved.

“After all the specifics of the allegation are known and resolved by law enforcement and the judicial system, the Little League Baseball Charter Committee may take further action if it is deemed necessary. We will not speculate on what that action may be.

“Little League Baseball expects the behavior of all players, managers, coaches, umpires and all others involved in our program to be above reproach. Whether or not the allegation is true, Little League condemns this behavior in the strongest possible terms, and will not tolerate it from its players or adult volunteers.”

The Big League Division of Little League Baseball is for players ages 16-18 years old. There are currently approximately 1,100 Big League Division programs (1,300 teams) in Little League, with approximately 19,500 players. The winner of the annual Big League Baseball Western Region Tournament advances to the Big League Baseball World Series, which was played Aug. 3-10 in Easley, S.C.

Contact: Lance Van Auken, Director of Media Relations; Little League Baseball, Incorporated
Office: 570-326-1921, Ext. 264; Cell: 570-971-2989; Fax: 570-326-1074
E-mail: media@littleleague.org