Update: No criminal charges in Holy Family case
NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA - February 24, 2011 (WPVI) -- On the day that Holy Family University suspended basketball coach John O'Connor and former player Matt Kravchuk faced off on Good Morning America, the Philadelphia District Attorney announced there will be no criminal charges in the case.
Here's the announcement from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office:
"The District Attorney's Office will not be filing any charges in connection with an incident that occurred at Holy Family University on January 25, 2011 during a basketball team practice. According to a police report filed on February 11, 2011, at that practice player Matt Kravchuk stated that he was grabbed and elbowed in the face by basketball coach John O'Connor which allegedly resulted in a bloody nose and bruised lip. The office's Private Criminal Complaints Unit reviewed the matter and has determined that this event does not constitute a prosecutable criminal offense."
The announcement came one day after the coach spoke to Action News about the videotaped incident that has him fighting for good name and his job.
RELATED: Watch Chad Pradelli's report
During Thursday morning's Good Morning America broadcast, suspended coach John O'Connor and former player Matt Kravchuk, each with their lawyers present, provided their sides of the story to Good Morning America's George Stephanopolous.
Krachuk talked about the apology he received from O'Connor when they met that evening after the practice. " He called me into his office and he apologized. We talked for a few minutes, he said he was sorry for what he did and that he crossecd a line," Kravchuk said. "He said he realized that everything that happened could ruin the 18 years of his career up to that point. He seemed remorseful at the time, but I don't know, it just didn't feel right. He apologized to the team shortly after that."
Kravchuk said e-mailed a note about the incident to Holy Family University's athletic director and later met with her and was assured some action would be taken. That's why he continued going to practice, Kravchuk said. When the athletic director wouldn't tell Kravchuk or his family what was done, he said he decided to pursue the matter.
O'Connor said on Good Morning America that he did meet with the athletic director who went over the tape with him and explained what he needed to improve in his handling of the situation.
"So you know now what you did was over the line?" Stephanopolous asked.
"Not really," O'Connor responded. "I just feel that I was a coach and I was trying to get my team more competitive. In doing so, I made a mistake."
Stephanopolous asked him to clarify the apparent contradiction.
"The whole thing here is that as it went on, I just felt that it was an accident, that it was unintentional, and I was really sorry that it happened. If that 30 seconds, I could take back, I certainly would. But unfortunately in this world you can't do that. And for that I really apologize."
As the segment wound down, Stephanopolous asked what the two of them wanted to say to each other.
O'Connor turned to Krachuk and said, "Matt, this was an accident. I was just trying to make us a better team that's more competitive and in doing so an accident happened. It was unintentional by me, and I'm really sorry that it happened. If I could take it back I certainly would. But, again, it was an accident and I'm really sorry that it happened."
"What's your response?" Stephanopolous asked Kravchuk.
"To be honest, it's kind of hard to accept your apology because you claim it's justified and you claim you weren't crossing the line. And also, I came to Holy Family to play basketball and now I'm injured, I can't play, and I can't play for you any more just because, as your player I'm supposed to be able to respect you and I don't feel that I can do that anymore," Kravchuk answered.
"I thought me and Matt had really kind of bonded through the year because in the beginning of the year he kind of struggled picking some things up, but I was proud because every day when Matt would come in he worked extremely hard and I think as he got along and started to pick up the things I was doing, I was really proud of where he came as a player. And I just feel it unfortunate if I never get the chance to coach him again," O'Connor added at the conclusion of the segment on Good Morning America.
During his interview with Action News Thursday night, O'Connor told reporter Chad Pradelli, "I feel like I've been in a nightmare since it happened, and I'm just not waking up,"
Suspended Holy Family University men's basketball coach, John O'Connor, says 25 years of coaching has gone up in smoke in 30 seconds.
O'Connor was conducting a drill called combat rebounding.
Matt Kravchuk was battling a teammate when the incident happened.
"I felt I crossed the line a little bit," says O'Connor, when asked about the video.
But just as troubling for Kravchuk is the verbal assault he received from O'Connor after the incident.
"The language I used, is it used? No question about it. Should it be used, absolutely not," said O'Connor.
Kravchuk suffered an injured wrist during the fall.
The sophomore has since hired an attorney and believes the school tried to brush the incident off, and only once the video went viral did Holy Family University suspend the coach indefinitely.
"Honestly, I don't know right now," said Matt Kravchuk. "Me, personally, I don't want to play for him again. So, we'll see what happens."
"Did I ever intend any of that to happen or Matt to get hurt? Not at all. What I was trying to do is get my team to be able to compete, so that when we go on the floor for the next game we were ready and when teams came after us, no matter what happened good or bad, we'd at least compete to the end." said O'Connor.
O'Connor told Action News that he apologized to Kravchuk and the entire team immediately after the incident that afternoon. He says the support he has received from the team and fellow coaches in the basketball community has helped him through the ordeal.
The entire basketball team wrote a letter to the university administrators, expressing how much O'Connor has positively affected their lives.
Holy Family University's basketball team played its first game without O'Connor Wednesday night. The team lost to the University of the Sciences 86-80.
Earlier this week they wrote a letter to the administration expressing how much he's positively impacted their lives.
When asked if he thought he would lose his job, O'Connor said, "I have no idea." But he does not think that he deserves to lose job, but is very worried about that possibility.
Holy Family University declined a request for an on camera interview, stating that the investigation is on-going.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, assault, holy family university, seth williams, sports
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