MORTON, TX (KCBD) - Tuesday KCBD NewsChannel 11 learned that the Morton ISD Athletic Director and head football coach was placed on administrative leave after an allegation that he assaulted a 6th grader.
Morton ISD Superintendent Vicki Rice confirmed placing Coach Don Rives on leave and would only say they are investigating the alleged incident. We've also confirmed that the Cochran County Sheriff's department is investigating but that no arrests have been made. We called the coach on his cell phone and left a message, but never heard back. According to 6th grade student Nathaniel Hernandez, the coach crossed the line.
The 12-year-old says it all started with a prank in the Morton field house. "Two kids decided to put a bag of water in another kid's locker and poke holes in it," Nathaniel said.
Once the other student found the mess in his locker, he threw the wet bag on the floor. Nathaniel says the coach was irritated with the kids and asked who did it. Someone pointed to Nathaniel. "I told coach it wasn't me, and he told me 'I don't care you just clean it up, it probably was you,' and I told him it wasn't."
When Nathaniel didn't clean up the mess, he says things got out of control.
"He grabbed me by my shirt. I pushed his arm away and he grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and said 'you clean it up', and then I told him 'I'm not scared of you,'" Nathaniel continued. "Then he put his elbow in my throat and said 'Are you scared of me now?', and I still said no. He put his elbow harder into my throat," he said.
Hernandez also claims he was slapped in the face. After the alleged incident, Hernandez called his father, Jesus. "I talked with the coach and I told him 'how come he hit my little boy on his face?'" Jesus continued. "He [coach] said 'I didn't hit him', and I said, 'well he's got a big red mark on his cheek' and he said 'I went like that [partial slapping motion]' and I said 'you need to stay away from my son,''' said Jesus.
Jesus took Nathaniel from school and immediately went to the courthouse to press charges. Nathaniel's mother Cindy was at a doctor's appointment and says she was shocked when she heard her son's story. "He should be fired and not allowed to work again with other children because if he works with another child, what if he hurts that other child worse than mine?"
When we talked with Morton's superintendent she said she was preparing a statement, but we were told by her office that she left for a school event in Plains Tuesday afternoon. Nathaniel told us there is a camera in the area where he says the incident took place.
Again, as of Tuesday, no arrests have been made. We've been told by Cochran County authorities and Morton ISD that the investigation is ongoing. We'll continue following all the latest details and will keep you updated.