Have You Been Effected by Coach Bart McInerney?

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2007.12.01

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Finally A Place To Clear Your Mind and Soul about Coach Bart McInerney

He is loved, he is hated, and he is forgotten by so many.  Thankfully through my baseball career under the helm of Coach (or Roach, as I like to think of him) Bart McInerney at St. Rose High School, he made me hate the game and question the Catholic religion.  This Un-Man blatantly chose his favorites, and those that went along for the ride, got to play, receive scholarships, and continue their paths in the baseball arena.  Although they had some skills, they did not initially belong on the field.  But with long, hard, late night, private training, of which I and a select few were not invited to, these players became decent and confident.  While the best of the best, sat the bench, quit the game, and went on to become successful and possibly bitter without the use of a bat.  Yes we do hold grudges, because this _______ (readers please fill in the blank as I have ran out of adjectives for this individual) took away from us something we loved.  I thank my parents and family for giving me a solid foundation to see people for what they are.  After only a few brief moments with Roach Bart McInerney I knew he was no good and he would, in many ways, hurt any child that came across his path.  Having this amazing quality of being disgusted by Roach Bart caused me to avoid trips, "special private practices", or any other type of one on one situations with him.  Was I shocked by what was publically released on Friday November 30, 2007, not at all.  I was relieved and vindicated by all that myself, family, and during the time close baseball buddies believed was true.  I am thankful that a few brave victims came forward to stop this Roach from tampering and damaging any future children.  I know how hard this may be for many of you that may have had an appalling act done upon them.  Please know and believe that it is not your fault and you need to come forward to make sure Roach Bart McInerney is punished for his crimes.  I say crimes, because besides the obvious sex scandals he has brought to the school of St. Rose and the Norman Rockwell town of Belmar, NJ, but he also paused or crippled the baseball dreams of many players that did not fit his mold or play along with his "games".  Even if you never met Roach Bart McInerney, there may be one in your town, city, school.  Take a stand and put these people where they belong.  Either in jails or psychiatric facilities.  They do not belong anywhere near the crucial ages of a child's growth.  He took the bat out of my hands, because I wouldn't put "my bat" in his.  Stand strong, come forward, and tell your stories, as painful as they may be.

11:19 am est

Former coach accused of sex talks with players will stand trial in Monmouth County

By Matt Pais • STAFF WRITER • April 3, 2009

FREEHOLD — A high school baseball coach accused of endangering the welfare of his players will stand trial in Monmouth County for all 12 charges brought by a grand jury, a Superior Court judge ruled this morning.

An attorney for Bartholomew McInerney, the former coach at St. Rose High School in Belmar accused of engaging in explicit sexual conversations encouraging his players to masturbate, was seeking to have some of the charges either thrown out or downgraded and also to have the upcoming trial moved out of the county.

Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Jr. denied both of those motions this morning, saying prosecutors were correct in charging McInerney with second-degree crimes because he had supervisory authority over his alleged victims and that a change in venue was unnecessary because media coverage of the case has not created an atmosphere that would make finding an impartial jury impossible.

McInerney, 42, has been free on $200,000 bail since his arrest on July 8. He is accused of requesting the players - who ranged in age from 15 and 17 years old - to describe their sexual activities to him in exchange for cash.

His attorney, Charles Uliano, argued Friday that the grand jury indictment went too far in accusing McInerney of second-degree crimes, which carry a potential jail sentence if he's convicted.

Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter J. Boser countered that McInerney's role as a coach justified the second-degree charges, an argument Mellaci concurred with in denying Uliano's motion.

In arguing for the change of venue, Uliano cited media coverage surrounding the case, including the establishment of a Web site about the charges - bartmcinerney.com - and claimed the publicity would hinder McInerney's rights under the 6th Amendment to a fair and impartial jury trial. He also said that a crowd of about 50 people who attended McInerney's arraignment in November was evidence that the case has already drawn heavy attention from the public.

In his denial of the change of venue, Mellaci dismissed the argument that the size of the audience at a prior hearing was of significance, saying that a crowd of 50 could have been only victims and their families. He also said the level of media coverage was neither national in scope or overwhelming to the point that a "circus-like,'' atmosphere had been created.

McInerney, who faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the charges, has also been named in a civil suit by the estate of Andrew Clark, who died in June 2008 after being struck by an NJ Transit train near the Wall crossing in Spring Lake.

Clark's death loomed over the investigation by the Belmar police and prosecutors. The Monmouth County Medical Examiner's Office determined he died of massive trauma but never stated conclusively if the death was an accident or a suicide.

But his parents said the alleged abuse was a factor in his death and they filed a civil suit in August against McInerney on behalf of their son's estate. The complaint alleges Clark was "sexually abused, harassed and endangered" by McInerney, court records show.

Lawsuit: Ex-coach Sexually Abuse Teen

Clark, 18, killed by train in June

By Ed Johnson • STAFF WRITER • August 13, 2008

FREEHOLD — A civil complaint has been filed by the estate of Andrew M. Clark Jr. against St. Rose High School in Belmar and its former baseball coach, Bartholomew McInerney, alleging the teen was "sexually abused, harassed and endangered" by McInerney, court records show.

The action is on behalf of the former St. Rose baseball player who originally went to authorities with complaints about sexual misconduct by McInerney. Clark, 18, died June 20 after being struck by a New Jersey Transit Train near the Wall Road crossing in Spring Lake.

Jacqueline Clark, Andrew's mother, said she believed the civil action was an additional step toward achieving justice for her son.

"My son stood up and told what had happened to him because he wasn't going to let it happen to the incoming freshmen," she said, her voice choked with emotion. "I'm going to make sure we finish what he started. Now I have to be my son's voice."

The suit comes as the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is proceeding with multiple charges of child endangerment against McInerney.

The civil complaint, which was filed in state Superior Court on Monday, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against McInerney and seeks to compel the school to preserve all documentation pertaining to the coach and his activities, said Raymond Gill, who is representing Clark's estate.

Among the allegations listed in the complaint was the following:

"Beginning with the travel baseball team's scheduled play at the University of Alaska dormitories in Anchorage, Alaska . . . Andrew M. Clark Jr. was sexually abused, harassed and endangered by Bartholomew McInerney. These acts of sexual lewdness, abuse, harassment and endangerment continued into the academic year 2007-2008 at the St. Rose High School's athletic facilities as well as electronically via cellular telephone text messages."

McInerney is free on bail and lives in his home in Spring Lake Heights. As a condition of bail, he cannot have contact with anyone at St. Rose's under the age of 18, visit the school or attend any of the school's athletic events.

His attorney, Charles J. Uliano, said he could not comment on the lawsuit because he had not yet seen a copy of the complaint. Attempts to reach officials at St. Rose High School for comment were unsuccessful.

Gill said it was possible that the suit also could be amended to include the Catholic Diocese of Trenton and NJ Transit if the discovery process indicates a legal basis to proceed in that direction.

"We're going to proceed cautiously," Gill said. "Right now, we have no reason to believe that the Trenton Diocese had any supervisory control over Mr. McInerney in his role as a baseball coach at St. Rose."

In a similar vein, he said any possible action against NJ Transit, whose train struck and killed Clark, would depend on what the discovery process shows and the conclusions of accident reconstructionists about issues such as the train engineer's line of sight and the train's stopping ability."

The civil case will now go into abeyance as the criminal action proceeds, Gill said.

That case involves 11 criminal complaints against McInerney, alleging he instructed teenage boys at the school to send him sexually explicit text messages on his cellular telephone.

Clark's death looms over the investigation by the Belmar police and prosecutors. The Monmouth County Medical Examiner's Office determined he died of massive trauma, but never stated conclusively if the death was an accident or a suicide.

Gill said the young man was haunted by McInerney's alleged abuse.

"It was a classic betrayal of trust," he said. "I've consulted with psychiatrists who said Andrew had the recognizable signs of a victim. There was suppression, guilt and ultimately depression."

What happened to this All-American boy?

by Mark Mueller/ The Star-Ledger
Sunday August 10, 2008, 12:00 AM

Alone in the dark, Andrew Clark Jr. walked along the rocky apron of the railroad tracks in Spring Lake. He was in a bad way, he told a friend on the phone. He didn't say why. He didn't have to.

It always came back to Bart.

Bart McInerney had been Andrew's baseball coach at St. Rose High School in Belmar. A respected man from a large and well-liked family, he'd been a friend and neighbor of the Clarks in Spring Lake Heights. He'd eaten at their table, talked sports with Andrew's father.

According to prosecutors, he'd also been a sexual predator. Charges filed against McInerney in November allege he repeatedly engaged in explicit conversations with players, hectoring them to provide details of private acts in text messages, offering them condoms and cash incentives.

Andrew was one of his alleged victims, and his parents and friends say the emotional toll was profound, making him prone to occasional bouts of despair. For a half-hour or an hour, he'd find a quiet place and disappear into his thoughts, wrestling with the revulsion and the hatred and the confusion.

On June 20, just after midnight, one of those dark moods brought Andrew to the Wall Road railroad crossing in nearby Spring Lake, the place where another local teen, Tim Schenke, had taken his own life in April after recurring bouts of depression.

Andrew followed the tracks 200 to 250 yards north. There, two days after his 18th birthday, he was sideswiped by an NJ Transit train and killed.

The Monmouth County medical examiner has yet to issue a ruling on Andrew's death. Because he was alongside the tracks and not on them, because he had called a friend for help and promised to wait, his family and friends say with unswerving conviction that he had pulled back from the brink, that his death was an accident.

But they believe with equal conviction that what drove Andrew to the tracks that night, what made him even consider suicide, was Bart McInerney.

"Bart took something from Andrew that he couldn't get back," said Jackie Clark, Andrew's mother. "He began to hate, and he couldn't deal with the hatred and the betrayal. It ate him up inside."

There were other pressures.

In the echo chamber of high school, in a small town of few secrets, everyone seemed to know Andrew had spoken to prosecutors about McInerney, 42, a coaching icon in Spring Lake Heights and neighboring towns. Some people called Andrew a liar. Others teased him, asking in a cutting singsong, "Where's Bart?"

"It didn't happen often, but when it did, he didn't forget about it," said Bryan Nadrowski, 17, one of Andrew's closest friends. "It bothered him."

Andrew was among the first players to come forward. Three weeks after the teen's death, on July 8, Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin announced charges relating to nine more alleged victims dating to 2001. He appealed for others with information about the coach to step forward.

McInerney is now charged with 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child and faces up to 10 years in prison for each count if convicted. He also would be required to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

Free on $200,000 bail, he has largely remained inside his Cape Cod-style home, avoiding the local shops and restaurants, according to neighbors and others in the community.

"I would love to comment, but I can't," McInerney said, answering the door on a recent afternoon in shorts and a Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt. "I don't want to shoot myself in the foot."

His lawyer, Charles Uliano, said his client is innocent.

"Bart McInerney is a good man and would never do anything to harm or endanger another person," Uliano said. "He's not guilty of these allegations."

First Assistant Prosecutor Peter Warshaw said the investigation continues and that evidence will soon be presented to a grand jury. He declined further comment.

In Spring Lake Heights, a close-knit borough of 5,100 people within 1.3 square miles, emotions have been rubbed raw.

In addition to Andrew's death and Tim Schenke's suicide, a third teen, 16-year-old Robert Bannick, died in his sleep in January. McInerney's arrest has hung over the community like a cloud, and residents feel the tension between the Clarks and the McInerneys, both admired families with intertwining friendships.

"Trouble in paradise," Police Chief Mark Steets said in a recent interview, addressing the events of the past nine months with a sigh and a soft shake of his head. "This town has been rocked. Everyone's a little tender right now, a little shaky. We're holding our breaths."


Were Mark Leddy to select a dream team from among the thousands of kids he's coached over 40 years on the Jersey Shore, Andrew Clark might be the first pick.

Soccer is Leddy's game, and soccer is where Andrew, a multi-sport athlete heading into his senior year, shone the brightest. It wasn't just that he could play any position on the field. It wasn't just that when the ball left his foot, it boomed like a rifle shot.

Leddy said Andrew combined charisma and talent with the desire to make those around him better.

First one up for laps, Leddy said. First to clean up after practice. First to help a teammate master footwork or one of the trick shots Andrew had learned at soccer camp.

"Of all the kids I've ever coached, he was just very special young man," said Leddy, who coached Andrew on travel squads and indoor teams from fourth grade until high school.

"He had a natural enthusiasm you just can't teach, and he was as dynamic off the field as on. If you had 20 kids come up to you, you'd immediately notice Andrew. Not just his smile, but the way he interacted with people. He was a bright, multitalented, energetic, world-is-your-oyster kind of kid."

Tom Martin came away with the same impression. The president of both the Spring Lake Heights Borough Council and the local Little League, Martin called Andrew a "wonderful kid from a wonderful family."

"He'd be the first kid in a crowd to come up and shake your hand and say, 'Hey, Mr. Martin, how are you?' This was a kid who had everything together," he said.

Andrew and his younger brother, Shane, 16, grew up on a quiet street across from the Spring Lake Golf Club. With a pool, a wide front porch and an airy, inviting atmosphere, the house was where the brothers' friends always seemed to end up, the doorbell ringing all afternoon and evening.

Jackie Clark, 42, a teacher in Belmar, and Andrew's father, Drew, 46, the borough's code enforcement officer, welcomed the commotion, firing up the grill and cooking sliced steak and buffalo wings by the dozens.

"We liked knowing where they were, and we liked being with them," Jackie Clark said. "We enjoyed the laughter. It just felt like one big happy family."

Life revolved around school and sports. Always sports. Soccer. Basketball. Baseball. Wrestling. Lacrosse. When it came time to decide whether Andrew would attend Manasquan High School, which serves Spring Lake Heights and six other towns, or St. Rose High, the decision was an easy one.

St. Rose had a top-notch soccer coach, Tim McInerney, and an equally distinguished baseball coach, Tim's brother Bart.

For decades, the name McInerney has been synonymous with sports and service in southern Monmouth County. A family of teachers and coaches, the McInerneys collectively have mentored thousands of children.

"Great, great family," says Chief Steets, who grew up with the 11 McInerney siblings.

"They're outstanding citizens," echoes Leddy, the soccer coach.

The family patriarch, James Francis McInerney, was a teacher at St. Catharine School in Spring Lake and later at St. Rose Elementary School, where Jackie Clark was among his students. At St. Rose High, he coached track.

He and his wife were involved in the recreation program in Spring Lake Heights. The program is now headed by their son Pete, the girls basketball coach at the borough's elementary school. A sister, Joan Bassi, is the school's athletic director and a gym teacher there.

Bart, the third youngest of the siblings, seemed no less devoted to kids.

For several years in the 1990s, he was president of the Spring Lake Heights Little League. He was a longtime member of the town's recreation committee. He single-handedly created the Shore Challenge, an annual baseball tournament that attracts dozens of top-flight teams from around the state.

Each Thanksgiving, he organized a popular touch football tournament. In the summers, he ran a baseball league for current and former St. Rose players and a softball league that counted among its members state troopers and police officers.

He had important friends, among them Spring Lake Heights Mayor Elwood Malick, who made McInerney the best man at his wedding last year.

For nearly a decade, he owned a silk-screen printing business that produced uniforms and T-shirts for teams in the area. One of his clients was the police department.

"Before this went down, no one would have ever suspected Bart of anything. Never," said Martin, the council president. "I don't know a family who wouldn't have sent a kid to play for Bart."

McInerney, who is single and lives alone, is also a man of religion. Former players said McInerney attended services at St. Catharine Church several times a week. At St. Rose High, he insisted his players recite the rosary on the team bus while returning from every away game.

"He had the rosary beads, and he would randomly pass them around," said Anthony Pianezza, 20, a St. Rose graduate who now attends Fordham University. "It was kind of annoying because you'd have to say it out loud. We'd be having fun, laughing, talking about the game, and it's like, 'Oh, here we go again. We have to say the rosary.'"

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Trenton, Rayanne Bennett, said that until the days before McInerney's arrest, St. Rose never received a complaint about him. He had a similarly unblemished record at St. Catharine School, where he worked from the late 1980s until the 1993-94 school year, Bennett said.

Because of his long association with the diocese, McInerney did not undergo a criminal background check in past years, the spokeswoman said. Under newer regulations, she said, he was due for one this year.

Steets said a background check wouldn't have raised an alarm about McInerney. He didn't have a criminal record, the chief said.

"Sometimes you need a crystal ball," he said.

McInerney, a graduate of both St. Catharine and St. Rose, worked as a general aide at the elementary school, his duties including everything from making photocopies to breaking down the lunchroom to organizing games on the playground, Bennett said.

It was at St. Catharine that McInerney first showed his talent for coaching, assisting with girls basketball, track and baseball, recalled Diane Meserlin, a family friend and a retired teacher at the school.

"He has a gift for coaching," Meserlin said.

Few dispute the claim. After McInerney took over the St. Rose baseball program in 1994, the team became a perennial power among parochial schools. In 2005, he won a state title.

"I always thought of him as a good baseball coach who was really passionate about the game," said Justin Herner, 26, who played for St. Rose in 1999.

Herner and other former players say McInerney always seemed to know when to pinch- hit for a batter, which pitchers to send to the mound, how to best stack the lineup. In the dugout, he was easygoing and calm.

Jackie Clark said Andrew, an outfielder who had been on McInerney's team in the local Babe Ruth League, looked forward to playing for him again.

"Andrew liked him," Jackie Clark said. "We liked him. We thought he was a great guy."

That belief came crashing down with one sentence last August.

"Bart's a creeper."

Jackie Clark said the veins in her neck popped out when her son spoke the words. It was his demeanor as much as anything. Embarrassed. Uncomfortable.

He had just returned home from one of McInerney's legendary "bonding" trips, where members of the baseball team accompanied the coach and a select group of chaperons -- assistant coaches and one of McInerney's sisters -- to exotic spots.

They'd see the local sights and play games against local teams. Earlier in the year, Andrew had been to Hawaii. The latest trip took him to Anchorage, Alaska. Parents paid the bills but weren't permitted to attend.

On that August day, Andrew told his mother he didn't want to play baseball anymore.

"I stayed calm," Jackie Clark said. "I said, 'Okay, Angie boy -- I always called him Angie Boy -- tell me what you mean.'"

Coach McInerney was always talking about masturbation, Andrew said. That it was natural, that teenage boys should do it as much as possible. He asked Andrew how often he masturbated, then told him he should do it more often, Jackie Clark said.

The coach never discussed it in front of others; he'd pull Andrew off to the side or corner him in the dugout, Jackie Clark said her son told her.

"You never knew when he was going to talk about it," Jackie Clark said. "One day he could come up and say something about the game, and the next day he would talk about that."

There had been no physical contact, Andrew said. McInerney never showed him pornography or tried to give him a drink.

Jackie and Drew Clark would learn later, when their son spoke to investigators, that McInerney allegedly offered Andrew money for text messages with details about the acts. But in those early talks, the teen held it back.

Jackie Clark said she asked Andrew if he wanted to go to police. He recoiled at the idea, afraid no one would take his word over that of an exalted coach.

"Bart's too big a figure, and I'm going to look like a liar," Jackie Clark recalled her son saying. Other players on the team, he added, "won't tell on Bart."

There was more to the decision. Andrew worried that if he spoke out against McInerney, St. Rose soccer coach Pete McInerney would hold it against him, and success in soccer was important to Andrew's plan to play the sport in college.

Jackie Clark had been good friends with Bart's sister Nancy. Andrew was friendly with one of Bart's nieces. He didn't want to imperil those relationships.

As a family, they decided against calling police. Andrew would quit baseball and continue to play soccer. He would try to steer clear of McInerney.

But he was troubled enough that his friends saw a change.

"We noticed he was acting funny," said Pete Schenke, 17, the brother of the teen who took his life in April. "He wasn't the regular, outgoing, always-ready-to-do-stuff type of kid that he had been. It started to bother him more as time went by."

Little by little, Andrew opened up to Pete Schenke, Bryan Nadrowski and a few others. McInerney, he told them, had offered $5 for each text message. When Andrew refused, the coach offered $10, he said. Andrew told them he never took the money.

He swore his friends to secrecy. He didn't want it getting out.

It would be out soon enough.

Jackie Clark was in her classroom when two Belmar detectives arrived at the school in late November. Someone had given the names of Andrew and a teammate to the prosecutor's office, saying they were potential victims of abuse. Would Andrew be willing to talk about it?

For more than 24 hours, Andrew wrestled with that question, his mother said. Ultimately, he agreed to cooperate.

"He said he didn't want what happened to him to happen to other children, to the younger kids coming in," Jackie Clark said. "He was adamant about that."

The meeting, held at Belmar police headquarters, went on for hours. What Jackie Clark heard stunned her.

Her son spoke of text messages and offers of cash, delving into lurid details in her presence for the first time. Andrew also told detectives about a hidden camera found by one of the players during the trip to Alaska.

Jackie Clark, citing the ongoing investigation, said she could not elaborate on the topic. Warshaw, the spokesman for the prosecutor's office, declined to comment when asked about it, as did McInerney's lawyer.

On the night of Nov. 29, a Thursday, detectives arrested McInerney. When the news broke the next day, most of those familiar with the coach expressed shock.

But not everyone.

Casey Cannon, a former player who graduated from St. Rose in June, said he had heard rumors that McInerney had acted inappropriately.

He himself hadn't been approached by the coach, Cannon said, and "it was so hard to believe that it didn't really hit me until the charges were filed."

Those rumors, it turned out, went back years.

Pianezza, the former St. Rose student who recalled reciting the rosary on the team bus, said a number of players were uncomfortable around the coach.

"Andrew wasn't the only one who felt that way," Pianezza said. "A lot of kids felt that way."

For one former player, McInerney's arrest brought back experiences he'd just as soon forget. The player, now an adult, spoke to authorities after McInerney was charged in November. His statements form the basis for one of the nine counts filed against McInerney last month.

The player, who spoke to The Star-Ledger on the condition that his name and age be withheld to protect his identity, gave a detailed account of his years with McInerney, saying the coach carefully targeted players, tested the waters with them and then relentlessly engaged them in graphic conversations.

"He definitely profiled people," the player said. "He'd only do it to people he thought he could deal with, people who were respectful of authority figures and trusting. If he sensed you were like, 'What the (expletive) are you talking about?' he wouldn't raise it again."

The player said McInerney first broached the topic of sex by asking how far he'd been with a girl. Before long, McInerney would steer the conversation to masturbation, the player said.

"He would want to know how many times you did it and how long it lasted, whether or not you watched porn before, whether or not you were using condoms," the player said.

Sometimes, he said, the talks took place in the middle of practice, leaving the player glancing around to make sure no one was in earshot.

"He would pull you off the side and say, 'So you been getting¤'em in?'" the player said, referring to masturbation. "It was like, 'Can I just go and practice?'"

On the first occasion, he said, he had stopped by the coach's house to say hello, something current and former players did from time to time. McInerney, he said, proceeded to talk about sex and masturbation for several hours.

"Obviously it's creepy, but he didn't sound creepy," the player said. "His body language was almost like he was enjoying the conversation. Me on the chair facing him, I'm sure I looked completely freaked out, and he's kicking back, relaxing. He'd almost joke to lighten the mood, like, 'You must be dying right now.'"

The player described McInerney's basement as a kind of "Neverland Ranch," with a basketball machine and an air hockey table.

McInerney sent him instant messages on the computer, asking for details, and later asked for cell phone text messages, the player said. In return, he said, McInerney offered to buy him a bat and a glove, items he refused because he did not know how to explain them to his parents.

Even after graduation and until the weeks before the coach's November arrest, McInerney continued to call, the former player said. Most of the time he didn't answer. Occasionally, he said, he relented in the hope it would make McInerney go away for a while.

In one conversation, he said, McInerney told him it was better to masturbate than to have sex with a woman if he'd had one too many drinks.

"I just worry about you," he quoted McInerney as saying. "I don't want to see you do anything stupid."

The player said he kept the conversations secret for so long for a simple reason.

"Who would want to talk about that?" he asked. "I still haven't told my parents everything. Even though they're your parents and they're going to love you no matter what, it's still hard to say it."

The toll that sexual abuse takes on victims has been well documented. It instills feelings of guilt and shame. It corrodes self-esteem. It can lead to confusion and depression.

If the abuser is a teacher or a cop or a coach, a victim might feel powerless to stop it, creating an inner war between feelings of disgust and an ingrained respect for authority, said Peter Harris, the chairman of psychiatry at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

"That conflict may continue long after the abuse goes away," Harris said. "He or she may feel scarred, defective -- literally, like someone missing a hand will feel defective."

Relationships may suffer. Rejection may be more difficult to take.

When a victim is a teenager, there is the added fuel of roiling emotions. Teens tend to "catastrophize" events, Harris said, swinging in a matter of moments from normalcy to utter despondency -- even to suicidal moods -- over disappointments.

Sometimes the signs are obvious -- irritability, a sudden lack of personal hygiene or failing schoolwork, for instance -- and sometimes they're all but absent.

Andrew, his family and friends said, showed no consistent signs of depression. Mostly, he was the same old Andrew, flashing the trademark grin captured in so many photos, throwing himself into sports, enjoying friends.

But he had his moments.

"During the week, he'd be mostly fine. School and sports took his mind off it," Bryan Nadrowski said. "But on the weekends, it would bother him."

Cruel comments didn't help.

"When it all came out, a couple members of the (St. Rose) baseball team were really on him," Pete Schenke said. "One kid on the team said to Andrew, 'If I see you around, I'm gonna beat you up.' It was Andrew's life getting messed up, and this guy threatened him. Andrew got real upset about that."

Some people said he had made the story up, Bryan said. Then there were the taunts, drive-by references to McInerney from kids who learned Andrew had come forward.

"Everyone knew," Bryan said. "Sometimes he would even joke about it, but only with our close circle of friends, because he knew we supported him. It was different when other people did it."

Immediately after McInerney's arrest, Andrew transferred to Manasquan High, where his friends and brother were students. He began to play baseball again. He joined the lacrosse team. But he couldn't shake the feeling that McInerney was hanging over him, interfering with his life, his friends said. That translated into girl troubles.

"He wanted to prove to himself that girls still liked him, and not just old men," Pete Schenke said. "He was looking for a long-term girlfriend, and if a girl said no to him, it really got to him."

As a precaution, Andrew began to see a therapist. Jackie and Drew Clark watched their son for behavioral changes, but none leaped out at them, and Andrew insisted he was fine.

In January came news that a Spring Lake Heights teenager had died. The rumor mill spit out the notion that 16-year-old Robert Bannick, known at Manasquan High as Bobby, had overdosed on drugs, perhaps even committed suicide.

Two weeks ago, the medical examiner ruled that Bannick did neither. Suffering from pneumonia, he aspirated in his sleep, according to the ME's report.

Andrew knew Bannick but wasn't friends with him. Three months later, a death would hit much closer to home.

Tim Schenke, due to graduate in June, was ranked fourth in his class at Manasquan High. A member of the National Honor Society, he had been awarded a $100,000 scholarship to Drexel University, where he planned to study engineering. Two years running, he was the starting sweeper on the varsity soccer team.

He also struggled off and on with depression, said his mother, Lisa Schenke.

"He was loved by many, but unfortunately, he didn't love himself," she said. "He was capable but not confident, and things got worse after a girl dropped him in December, and then it got worse after Bobby's death. He knew Bobby."

In January, even before Bannick's death, Tim Schenke threatened to commit suicide, prompting his parents to have him committed for intensive psychiatric treatment. He soon convinced doctors he was no longer a threat to take his own life, and because he had turned 18, he was permitted to sign himself out, Lisa Schenke said.

He continued with treatment on an outpatient basis. He said he felt better, his mother said.

And then, at 6:40 p.m. on April 26, he stepped in front of an NJ Transit train at the Wall Road crossing.

Pete Schenke said Andrew proved an incredible comfort after his brother's death, staying by his side for days.

"He was hugging me and looked me straight in the eye and said, 'We'll never let this happen again. We'll be best friends forever, for the rest of our lives,'" Pete Schenke said.

Jackie Clark, concerned about the effect of Tim Schenke's death on her son, brought Andrew to extra therapy sessions. She talked with him about suicide.

"He spoke about how selfish it was," she said. "He knew the pain that family felt. He consoled them. He said, 'I would never hurt anyone like that.'"

In the weeks that followed, life returned to its natural rhythms. School and sports. Get-togethers and laughs. But Andrew's dark moods seemed to intensify, Pete Schenke said.

Thinking about McInerney bothered him more, his friends said. Just driving by the coach's house, knowing he was in there and not in a cell, made him angry. At some point, he knew, he would have to testify before the grand jury, and he was mentally preparing himself for the moment.

As always, he shook off the ugliness.

On the night of June 19 -- graduation night for Manasquan's seniors -- he seemed to be feeling great.

Outside Manasquan High School, Andrew let out a whoop.

Summer vacation had arrived. In two days, he'd be in the Cayman Islands with his family and the Nadrowskis. In the fall, he'd be a senior. Top of the food chain.

College recruiters had already sent letters. Bucknell. Quinnipiac. Rider. He'd signed up for an SAT review course.

In the meantime, he'd spend his summer in the sun, lifeguarding at a local apartment complex, hanging with friends, staying sharp on the ballfield.

"That was one of the best moods I'd seen him in in a long time," Pete Schenke said. "He was so happy and looking forward to his senior year. He was screaming and talking on the phone. He said, 'We're gonna have the best time of our lives next year.'"

It was just after 9 p.m. Andrew and Pete had attended the graduation ceremony, where speakers noted the passing of Bobby Bannick and Tim Schenke, saying the Class of 2008 had overcome tragedy and adversity.

By 9:30, they were at a party at a friend's house.

"People were hanging around the pool in back," Pete said. "It was a good time."

At 11 p.m., Jackie Clark checked in with her son on the phone.

"He sounded happy as a lark," she said. "He said that if he needed a ride, he'd call."

At about 11:45, Andrew told Pete he was heading out.

"Yo, dawg, hit me up tomorrow," Andrew told him. "We'll get some pork roll at the Bagel Basket."

There had been beer at the party, but Andrew definitely didn't seem drunk, Pete said. He was still in a good mood. Normal.

Andrew walked out.

At 12:02 a.m. on June 20, Bryan Nadrowski's cell phone rang.

He was walking with a friend, not far from his home. It was Andrew. Bryan instantly recognized trouble in his voice.

"I'm at the tracks," Andrew told him.

"What tracks?" Bryan asked.

"I don't know."

"Well, what town?" Bryan asked again.

"Spring Lake," Andrew answered.

"Wait for me."

Andrew said he would.

Bryan sprinted for the Wall Road crossing. At 12:05, his phone rang again. Still running, he answered. Then the call cut off. The caller ID showed it was Andrew.

Bryan immediately called back. Straight to voice mail.

It was still 12:05 when Bryan dialed Pete Schenke.

"Bryan said something had happened at the tracks, and Andrew wasn't answering his phone," he said.

Pete tried Andrew's phone, too. Voice mail.

He ran for the tracks.

Chief Steets was at home, still awake, when his house phone and cell phone rang at the same time. One call was from headquarters, the other from a relative whose child had been text-messaged with word that someone had been hit by a train.

"Oh no," he recalled thinking. "Not again."

In the few minutes it took to get to the crossing, hundreds of teens had gathered, summoned by phone and text message, Steets said. Many were crying.

School officials opened Manasquan High and called in counselors. Scores of people would remain there deep into the night.

Andrew's friends and family may never learn what triggered the mood in those final minutes.

Did someone make a comment as he left the party? Did it strike on its own?

Jackie Clark believes her son suffered a moment of bad judgment in going to the tracks. She wishes he had called her, let her fix things.

She takes some solace in the belief that Andrew, despite the dangerous thoughts in his head, changed his mind.

The train's engineer, the man at the controls, would tell police no one was on the tracks as the engine and its three coaches sliced through the night toward Bay Head at 60 mph.

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of someone directly next to the tracks and applied the emergency braking system, NJ Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett Hackett said.

"Unfortunately and tragically, somehow Andrew came into contact with the train," she said.

Some 4,200 people attended Andrew's memorial service, nearly filling the lower level of the sprawling Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove.

In their own ways, Andrew's family and friends are seeking to honor his memory.

Pete Schenke will play soccer at Manasquan High in the fall; Andrew had urged him to go out for the team. Bryan Nadrowski wears Andrew's armband. Two weeks ago, he had Andrew's initials tattooed on his chest.

Both are selling T-shirts to benefit a scholarship fund established by Andrew's parents.

Jackie Clark said the best way she can honor Andrew is to see that Bart McInerney goes to prison. She has recently hired a lawyer, and she plans to sue both the coach and his employer, the Diocese of Trenton.

"This man twisted my son's mind," she said. "Andrew couldn't verbalize the torment that was inside him. I have a louder voice. To the day I die, I will make sure that justice is served."

Bart - Go Elf Yourself
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In the News


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Coach faces cell-phone sex scandal

BELMAR — A well-known high school baseball coach has been charged with engaging in sexually explicit conversations with two teenage boys and instructing them to send him explicit text messages on his cell phone, authorities said.



Bartholomew McInerney, also known as "Coach Bart," is the long-time head baseball coach at St. Rose High School, a graduate of that school, and was one of the developers recently involved in a controversial proposal to build a sports complex in Howell.

The 41-year-old Spring Lake Heights resident, who is free on $75,000 bail, was arrested Thursday night by police and members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Authorities said the boys — between 15 and 17 years old — are St. Rose students, but would not say if they played on the baseball team.

From February 2007 through November 2007, the coach engaged in sexually explicit conversations with the boys, encouraging them to masturbate, Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin said.

Those conversations took place in person, on the cell phone and through text messages, he said.

The coach also provided condoms to the boys and instructed them to send him text messages describing details related to the sexual acts, Valentin said at a news conference in Freehold.

In return, McInerney offered to pay cash upon receipt of text messages that confirmed the completion of the sexual act, the prosecutor said.

Valentin: Cash was paid

McInerney paid one victim cash on numerous occasions, Valentin said. But the prosecutor would not disclose how much money was paid to the boy or whether that money was passed to the teen at school.

Valentin said McInerney, who is single, previously held numerous coaching positions throughout southern Monmouth County. The Prosecutor's Office is reviewing whether McInerney currently has other coaching responsibilities.

On the American Legion Baseball District 3 Web site, McInerney was listed as the coach of the Belmar Mets, an American Legion team whose "base school" is St. Rose.

Tom Garretson, chairman of Monmouth County American Legion Baseball, said McInerney was "an OK guy," a successful coach who had a strong grasp of the game, was articulate in expressing his point of view and perhaps most importantly: "He seemed not to be a hot head."

It has been several years since St. Rose has been a member of the American Legion league, which runs a program for high school baseball teams in an effort to attract college scouts.

Garretson said that high school coaches must be careful not to get too close to players — "there's that line where you have to stay at a distance and I think it's hard.

"Especially if you're trying to work with a player. You might be working on his swing or if you're showing him how to throw a ball," Garretson said. "It's a different world today."

Involved with Little League

In the early 1990s, he worked at St. Catharine's School in Spring Lake as an aide, and around the same time he was also involved with the state Little League tournament.

McInerney is also the director of the Shore Challenge, a baseball tournament that attracts a number of the top high school baseball teams from around the state.

McInerney began coaching at St. Rose in 1994, took 2006 off, and then returned earlier this year. He has a seasonal coaching contract, but does not teach at the school.

He has coached a successful team at St. Rose, which has won a number of Shore Conference division championships and a state baseball championship.

"A great guy to me"

Anthony Ranaudo, a St. Rose graduate who now attends Louisiana State University on a baseball scholarship, said McInerney was "a great guy to me."

"He was a gentleman and always lending a helping hand to me and my family," said Ranaudo, 18, a native of Jackson.

Joanne Cowen of Avon, a teacher in Lakewood, worked with McInerney in the Spring Lake Heights recreation department about 20 years ago. In the 1990s, her son, then a student St. Rose, played baseball for McInerney. She said she was flabbergasted after her son telephoned her with the news Friday.

"He thought he was a great guy. Left field, totally, totally," Cowen said of her shock. "It's a wonderful family as far as I know, it's a shame, the guy is going to be destroyed . . . I haven't judged him yet. He's not guilty to me, until everything's been said. It's hardly fair to accuse somebody in the newspaper . . ."

Laura Leddy Turner, a freelance writer and former Asbury Park Press reporter, said her son, Brendan, 20, and other players went to parties and on a camping trip with McInerney and his brother, Tim, who is still a soccer coach at St. Rose. Turner's son played on the soccer team.

"I never thought twice about having my son in the company of Bart or his brother," Turner said. "And I think it's important to say, (Bart) and Tim were friends with these boys and good to these boys. But they also insisted that these boys respect them. They were tough coaches, both of them.

"They talked sports and that's it," Turner said. "You send your kids to Catholic school for Christian values, so they can experience Christian values every day, not just on the weekends or on Sunday. I always thought of the McInerneys as good Christian people."

Investigation confirmed

On Tuesday, a parent went to the high school and told an official that his child had been asked by a law enforcement officer to answer questions about an ongoing investigation, said Rayanne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton. The school official contacted police, who confirmed they had an ongoing investigation, she said.

School officials told the parent that his child should cooperate with police, and on Wednesday school officials called in the parents of baseball team members to advise them of the allegations, according to the diocese.

The coach was also advised in writing to stay away from the school and its students while the investigation was under way, according to a statement from the diocese.

School officials have also notified the state Division of Youth and Family Services about the case and counseling has also been made available to all of the roughly 650 students at the school.

Over the years, the coach's baseball teams have gone on out-of-area trips, including one in 1999 to Hawaii.

But the spokeswoman for the diocese said that while out-of-area trips may have involved St. Rose students, they were not school-sanctioned excursions.

McInerney was also one of the developers involved in a pending plan to build a health club and sports academy in Howell.

T.J. Coan, the managing director for the plan, the Monmouth Athletic Center, said McInerney's interest in that project will be rejected.

"He will not be a participant in any way shape or form," Coan said. "We feel bad for the community as a whole. . . . It's sad for everyone involved at this time, but otherwise, we have no comment."

No contact with minors

As a condition of bail, McInerney was told he could not have contact with any minors, including the two victims. He was also ordered to stay off school property.

A source close to the investigation said that the tower containing the hard drive for McInerney's personal computer was missing when a search warrant was executed at his Spring Lake Heights home.

Valentin said the investigation is continuing and his office is urging parents to talk to their children about the matter and refer any concerns to his office.

Staff writers Michelle Gladden, Joseph Sapia, and Tony Graham contributed to this story.



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High school coach arrested over alleged lewd requests

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Diocese  of  Trenton

Office of Public Relations

 

                   701 Lawrenceville Road • Trenton, New Jersey  08648  

                   Telephone (609) 406-7400 ext. 5569 •  Fax (609) 406-7451

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 30, 2007

CONTACT:    Rayanne Bennett, Director

                        (609) 406-7400 X 5569

                        rbenne@dioceseoftrenton.org


STATEMENT FROM THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON

ON THE ARREST OF BARTHOLOMEW McINERNEY

The Diocese of Trenton was informed today, Nov. 30, 2007, by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office of the arrest of Mr. Bartholomew McInerney late last evening on two counts of child endangerment. Mr. McInerney has served under a seasonal contract as the head baseball coach for St. Rose High School, Belmar, for the past 13 years.

The allegations that led to this arrest were first reported to St. Rose High School officials on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007, by the Belmar Police Department. The following day, the school called the baseball team parents in to advise them of these allegations. In addition, although Mr. McInerney has no official role or responsibility at this time in the school year, he was instructed in writing to stay off school grounds, stay away from school events and to make no contact with any St. Rose High School student while the investigation was underway.

The Diocese and St. Rose High School have committed full cooperation to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s investigation of Mr. McInerney, and the school has encouraged the students and parents to do the same.  School officials have also notified the state Division of Youth and Family Services regarding the case against Mr. McInerney and have supplied the agency with information needed for its own investigation.   We will continue to cooperate fully with any and all investigations as they move forward.

The Diocese and St. Rose High School take this matter very seriously and are committed to doing all we can to meet the needs of the students, parents and staff. Counseling services have been made available through the school and will continue to be available as long as they are needed. 

Approximately 650 students attend St. Rose High School, which is the secondary school of St. Rose Parish, Belmar.

END

The Star-Ledger
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Former Shore baseball coach charged in more teen sex incidents

Man is accused of paying boys at Belmar high school for explicit messages
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
BY MARYANN SPOTO
Star-Ledger Staff

The former baseball coach at St. Rose High School in Belmar was hit yesterday with more charges that he offered to pay male students to perform sexual acts on themselves.

Bartholomew McInerney returned to Superior Court in Freehold to face nine second-degree child endangerment offenses added to the two lodged against him in November.

"Mr. McInerney committed multiple acts of sexual conduct with nine teenage boys, specifically by engaging the boys in sexually explicit conversations during which some were encouraged to masturbate," Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Laurie Gerhardt said.

Through his attorney, the 42-year-old Spring Lake Heights resident, known as Coach Bart, pleaded not guilty and vowed to fight the charges.

"Bart McInerney is a good man," defense attorney Charles Uliano said after court. "He did not violate the law and he's not guilty of these charges."

Gerhardt said McInerney offered the teenagers, ranging in age from 15 to 17, cash if they sent him text messages describing their sexual experiences. In some cases, authorities said, McInerney supplied them with condoms.

"The investigation also revealed that in some cases, the boys were actually paid on numerous occasions for their messages," Gerhardt said.

The incidents involved teenage boys affiliated with the school's baseball or coaching program from 2001 through 2007 while McInerney was either a coach, a coordinator or a facilitator, she said.

Dressed in a black suit and yellow tie, the unmarried McInerney sat handcuffed in court for the second time in less than a year.

Judge Bette Uhrmacher set his bail at $125,000, rejecting the prosecution's request for $250,000 bail. She had initially set the bail at $45,000, but summoned all the parties back to her courtroom about an hour later, when, after reviewing the allegations, she said she did not feel comfortable with that amount.

McInerney had been released on $75,000 bail on the previous child endangerment charges involving two students, and was released yesterday after posting the new bail.

Uliano argued that McInerney's position as a part-time baseball coach, and particularly his earlier post as a coordinator, do not make him subject to the harsher second-degree offenses, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, that are usually reserved for teachers. But Uhrmacher said that would be up to a grand jury to decide.

In court, Uliano said McInerney may have engaged some youngsters in conversations about sexuality.

"Well, there are health teachers who do that every day in school where they talk about various forms of sexuality," he told Uhrmacher.

As conditions of McInerney's bail, Uhrmacher ordered that he not have unsupervised contact with people under the age of 18, and that he not leave the state without prior permission from the court. He also is barred from returning to coaching at St. Rose.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin said the charges mounted as authorities continued their investigation from the original complaint in November.

Trivia Question?
What coach, guardian, and single 41 year old man was charged with a Sex Scandal relating to his young baseball playing teenage boys?

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Coach Bart You Have Touched the Lives, and Body Parts, of Many People Throughout Your Career and the truth will set you UnFree

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