Man accused of breaking ref's glasses at youth basketball game pleads no contest -
Published Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 1:02 pm
Man accused of breaking ref's glasses at youth basketball game pleads no contest

The man accused of breaking a referee's glasses at a youth basketball game on Feb. 3 pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery Monday, and said after his court appearance that he regretted his actions.

Joseph Stephans of Bellevue was accused of grabbing the glasses of referee Carlos Bradford and breaking them after a seventh-grade boys' basketball game.

The team on which Stephans' son played, St. Mary Catholic School in Bellevue, lost to the team from St. Margaret Mary Catholic School.

After Stephans grabbed Bradford’s glasses, there was a brief struggle, which parents broke up. Bradford called Omaha police.

Stephans, 54, is scheduled to be sentenced May 30. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and a $500 fine. Stephans also must pay restitution to Bradford for the glasses, which cost about $300.

Senior City Prosecutor Mike Getty dropped a charge of damage to property but pursued an assault-and-battery charge at Bradford's insistence.

After the trial, Stephans was apologetic and told reporters he regretted his actions.

“I want to make sure folks know that this is not in my character,” he said.

Bradford, 54, attended the hearing before Douglas County Judge Craig McDermott. He said he kept the broken ones, held together by tape, as a reminder of the incident.

Even though Stephans is unlikely to serve any jail time, Bradford said he was satisfied with the assault charge.

“I wanted that assault and battery to stick with him,” Bradford said. “Why should he be given a break?”

Contact the writer: Robby Korth    |   402-444-1169    |  

Robby is a a general assignment intern at the Omaha World-Herald and a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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