Former Rumson-Fair Haven football coach Bryan Batchler will not be charged
Former Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Bryan Batchler was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing Tuesday night after an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
Specifics regarding the allegations against Batchler have not been stated, and he remains a math teacher in the district in a position he has held since the 2008-2009 school year.
Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni told the Asbury Park Press, "We take very serious any allegations of potential criminal conduct involving inappropriate relationships between educators and their students".
Gramiccioni also said, "In this matter, evidence was insufficient to support criminal charges. However, we referred the matter to the New Jersey Department of Education Investigations Unit for an administrative investigation or other action within their jurisdiction to conduct."
A decision was made by Rumson-Fair Haven Superintendent of Schools Peter Righi earlier this month not to re-hire Batchler as Rumson's head football coach.
Batchler's attorney, Mitchell Ansell of Ansell, Grimm and Aaron in Ocean, said he had not received notice of any referral to the state education department about a potential investigation.
Batchler, through his attorney, released a statement to Shore Sports Network on Wednesday night, which reads as follows:
"The Rumson-Fair Haven High School Football team, coached by Bryan Batchler, won the State Championship on December 5, 2015. Thereafter, on December 14, 2015, Coach Batchler was placed on Administrative Leave with pay by the Superintendent of the Rumson-Fair Haven High School. At that time, we learned that the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office had initiated an investigation of Coach Batchler and I was retained to represent him. Coach Batchler and I have been assisting the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and I have been in direct contact with them ever since that date. On February 16, 2016 I received a latter from Thomas Fichter, Special Deputy Attorney General, Acting Assistant Prosecutor, Director of Special Victims Bureau that as a result of their very thorough investigation there would be no criminal charges filed against Coach Batchler."
"Unfortunately, the Superintendent did not wait for the outcome of this investigation and advised Coach Batchler that he would not be re-hired as the football coach on December 23, 2015. What is most unfortunate about this decision is that the people who will suffer the most are the young men in Rumson-Fair Haven who will not have Bryan Batchler as their coach. It is extremely unfortunate that in today's society people make rash judgements and make assumptions without the benefit of any hard evidence. Essentially, Coach Batchler was falsely accused of criminal conduct and the prosecutor's office didn't even find that there was probably cause to believe that any criminal conduct was committed. On behalf of Coach Batchler and his family he wishes to thank his friends, coaches, current and former players for continued support of him during this very difficult time. Coach Batchler's record at Rumson precedes him. While he was at RFH his record was 94-29 and he was part of four state titles in the past six years."
"What is most important, however, is that Coach Batchler has now been completely vindicated and all the false rumors, innuendos and baseless allegations that have been made against him have been deemed to be completely incredible and he has been cleared by any wrong doing by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office."
A voicemail left for Righi on Wednesday night was not returned.
Batchler coached the Bulldogs from 2013 through 2015 and guided Rumson to three consecutive NJSIAA state sectional championships, going 30-6 over that span. Rumson finished 10-2 this past season and captured the Central Jersey Group III title with a 21-0 victory over rival Red Bank. Batchler is the only coach in Shore Conference history to win state sectional titles in each of his first three seasons.
Jerry Schulte, who had served as Rumson's defensive coordinator since the 2005 season, was approved as the program's new head coach during a board of education meeting on Tuesday night.
Football editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.