- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2003

FORT LAUDERDALE (AP) Prosecutors dropped a battery charge yesterday against a 12-year-old boy who tossed a fellow soccer player to the ground during a game in May.
Instead of getting put out of the game, Ben Danchak was charged in August with misdemeanor battery after grabbing another player by the collar and throwing him to the ground during a match at Eagle Ridge Elementary School in Coral Springs.
Ben was offered court-sponsored counseling in July, but his family rejected the proposal. Chief Juvenile Prosecutor Maria Schneider said that the boy was charged after a lower-level prosecutor failed to see a memo by Miss Schneider that the charge be dropped.
During a hearing yesterday before Circuit Judge Robert Collins, the Danchaks again declined counseling for their son, and the charge was dismissed.
Miss Schneider called the incident "something that happened on the field. It wasn't an extreme act of violence and nobody got hurt."
"It is my decision that under these criminal facts it just doesn't rise to the level of criminal prosecution," Miss Schneider said. Prosecutors declined to name the boy who filed the complaint. The boy's mother did not immediately return a message left with the prosecutor's office.
Kerry Danchak, Ben's father, said that the prosecution had been disruptive for the family.
"It's been horrible for us, for a simple game on the soccer field. No black eyes, no bruises," Mrs. Danchak said before the charges were dropped.


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