2015-03-26 / Sports

Another black eye for Mahopac sports program

Father attacks lacrosse coach
Eric Gross

A Mahopac man has been arrested on charges of harassment and criminal mischief for allegedly punching and spitting on a coach who cut his daughter from the MHS girls' varsity lacrosse team.

Carmel Police reported the arrest Friday of Alfonso DiFusco, 46, who pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment before Justice Joseph J. Spofford Jr. in Carmel Town Court. Judge Spofford issued an order of protection prohibiting DeFusco from having any contact with the coach.

Police alleged the coach, Jim Lieto, was attacked outside Mahopac High School on March 13 after Lieto reduced the Lady Indians’ roster following spring tryouts.

School and police officials said the incident was captured on the district’s security surveillance cameras.

Superintendent of Schools Brian Monahan said Lieto has coached lacrosse at Mahopac High School for more than 10 years and had never been embroiled in any type of incident related to his coaching: “Coach Lieto is one of the most widely respected people in this community.”

According to police, DiFusco allegedly stopped the coach's vehicle and yelled at him before reaching inside the car and punching the man, then spitting on him. He also reportedly tried to take Lieto's cell phone before a student pulled him away.

Police Chief Michael Cazzari said the Putnam County District Attorney's Office could decide to bring additional charges against DiFusco whose next court appearance is April 21.

The chief said no charges of assault were filed because Lieto was not injured.

Monahan, who called the incident, the “worst of this type I have ever seen after 40 years in the business of education, has barred DiFusco from all school property.

Attempts to reach DiFusco have been unsuccessful.

Mahopac’s heralded athletic programs can’t seem to get a break.

Last year, the high school became embroiled in controversy after several students made racially derogatory remarks during a varsity basketball game at the Westchester County Center against a predominantly African-American team from Mt. Vernon.

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