Officer apologizes for confronting teen referee

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GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) - A central Kentucky police officer has entered a guilty plea and apologized for a confrontation with a teenage soccer referee.

The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1depooH) reports 37-year-old Keith Spears, who is a Lexington police officer, entered the plea Thursday in Scott District Court to an amended charge of harassment with no physical contact. He paid fines and court costs and agreed to donate $750 to the Kentucky Soccer Referee Association.

He also apologized to the 13-year-old referee, who he approached after a youth soccer game.

“I’d like to extend an apology to the referee and his family. … I’m sorry it happened,” Spears said to the boy and his parents, who were in court.

A complaint filed in court said Spears had been “cautioned about his unsportsmanlike sideline behavior” by the teen during the game.

Originally Spears had been charged with harassment with physical contact.

His attorney, Fred Peters, described the confrontation more as a misunderstanding.

“The young man raised his hand to point that ‘you’re out of here,’ and my client thought when he raised his hand, he was striking him. So all he (Spears) did was put his (referee’s) arm behind his back, like he was trained to do, and then walked away.”

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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