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Man accused of assaulting teen over stray baseball

May 15, 2012 1:09:16 PM PDT
A New Jersey homeowner in trouble with the law after officers say he assaulted a high school baseball player because of stray ball.

The suspect was arrested, and charged with simple assault and released on his own recognizance.

The baseball field is just beyond trees in the backyards of some frustrated residents.

The suspect, Michael Bennett's wife sent police to shoo Eyewitness News crews away, refusing to open the door to talk to us about her husband's arrest.

During a baseball game Saturday a player hit a foul ball from school property into their yard.

When a Union Catholic High School senior went to fetch it, police say the 44-year-old Scotch Plains homeowner assaulted the 18-year-old student.

"I think he is more emotionally shaken up," said Diocese spokesperson Jim Goodness.

Goodness is the spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Newark who oversees the school.

He admits neighbors have complained about balls landing on their properties.

But he never expected it to go this far.

"The ball field has been there for decades it was there before any of the houses were built therefore any neighbors moved into the area they knew it was a ball field there," he adds.

The school suggested putting up netting but most homeowners said no because it would spoil the look of the area.

So they put in a tree line to work as a buffer, hoping that will solve the problem when they grow in.

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