YSU suspends assistant football coach following domestic violenc - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

University now reviewing domestic violence reporting protocols

YSU suspends assistant football coach following domestic violence investigation

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Youngstown State University assistant football coach will miss a third game as he carries out a five-day suspension following an internal investigation into alleged domestic violence. 

Co-defensive coordinator Richard McNutt was ordered to spend five days on unpaid suspension, beginning September 10th. 

21 news previously reported that McNutt was on paid administrative leave beginning August 24th. 

The university has now released more information on the investigation, including what sparked the internal investigation. 

According to a University report, which was put together by the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Equal opportunity and Policy Development, an investigation was launched against McNutt - who also serves as the penguins recruiting coordinator, on August 7th. 

The report says that on August 7th the YSU Athletic Department "received information that the University might have a domestic violence reporting issue." 

According to the investigative report, McNutt had "generally informed" several staff members, including Athletic Director Ron Strollo and Football Coach Bo Pelini about "his marital issues, his ongoing divorce, and conflicts between him and his wife regarding child visitation". 

University investigators say McNutt also discussed the "possible breakdown of his marriage" with University President Jim Tressel. 

The report says that all three- Strollo, Pelini, and Tressel- encouraged McNutt to avoid conflicts with his wife and focus on his work. 

According to the report, the investigation found that though the Athletic Department was aware of marital issues, there was "no indication of any possible domestic violence issues" until McNutt self-reported in early 2018. 

The incident in question, according to the report, occurred on April 7th in Canfield. 

According to a police report from that date, McNutt arrived at the home of his estranged wife to pick up children from the home. 

The report says the wife told officers that McNutt had slapped a phone from her hand when he noticed her videotaping his interactions with the children. 

The police report says the wife showed officers her hand "which appeared to have small scratches". The investigators say it also appeared to be "slightly swollen". 

In a later interview with McNutt, Canfield police say he told investigators that he grabbed the phone from her hand and threw it. 

Canfield Police conferred with Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Mike McBride  about potential criminal charges, although none were ultimately filed. 

According to the police report,  the wife told officers at a later date that she was in contact with an attorney about whether or not she should file criminal charges, but expressed concern that McNutt could lose his job if she did. 

No criminal charges were filed against McNutt.

The Office of Human Resources report says McNutt "self-reported" that incident to Coach Pelini and then to Athletic Director Strollo. 

The Office of Human Resources report says there were "no clear violations of university policy" after reviewing Pelini and Strollo's contracts. 

According to the Office of Human Resources, the requirement to report domestic violence issues is not outlined in YSU's workplace violence or sexual misconduct policy. 

The report goes on to say the there is "a common belief that when law enforcement does not arrest and/or bring charges of domestic violence against an individual, no further obligation exists on the part of the university. However, the triggering event for reporting or taking some type of action relative to domestic violence should not be whether law enforcement makes an arrest or brings charges against an individual." 

The recommendations from the Office of Human Resources include that following McNutt's five-day suspension, he may return to work and maintain his position as Assistant Coach under the conditions that no acts of domestic violence or any other violent behavior occur on or off campus. 

In addition, the Athletic Department staff will undergo additional training on sexual assault, domestic and workplace violence, and additional management/coaching training. 

The report also addresses the fact that there does not seem to be clear policies regarding who must report potential or alleged domestic violence incidents. 

The Office of Human Resources says they will work with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Policy Compliance to develop and clarify the reporting responsibility "of all employees and managers" and then provide updated training on sexual assault, domestic violence, and workplace violence to all university employees. 

McNutt has been with the Youngstown State University Football program for four years. He is expected to return to work on September 16th. 

21 News has attempted to reach out to McNutt for comment, but so far, he has not responded. 

A release issued on behalf of the university reads in part, " YSU remains committed to creating a culture across the campus community in which violence of any kind is not tolerated. When such incidents do occur on or off campus, the university must hold itself, its employees and its students accountable. The university pledges continued diligence and fairness as we work for a safe, inclusive and respectful campus community environment." 

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