Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen’s husband faces misdemeanor charge in soccer practice incident

etracy@modbee.comOctober 14, 2013 

— The husband of state Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen faces a misdemeanor charge related to the claimed mistreatment of a 4-year-old boy at a youth soccer practice during the summer, the District Attorney’s Office confirmed Monday.

The child’s mother said Rod Olsen grabbed her child so violently by the arm that he left bruises and caused the child to urinate in his pants. The incident is said to have occurred Aug. 12 during a Modesto Youth Soccer Association practice at Standiford Park on Tokay Avenue. The Bee is not identifying the mother to protect the identity of the little boy.

The District Attorney’s Office on Thursday filed a misdemeanor charge against Rod Olsen, 44, for permitting a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, and issued a surrender letter to the court to be sent to him, according to Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley.

She said the court assigns a surrender date, for which the defendant must appear in court. Shipley said she did not know Rod Olsen’s surrender date, and the courts were closed for Columbus Day on Monday.

Rod Olsen said in an emailed statement to The Bee on Monday evening: “I have fully cooperated with the police department and I can assure you this is a false accusation.”

The child’s mother said she was kicking a ball with another child on her son’s team and did not witness the incident.

“All of a sudden, I looked over and I saw Rod coming toward me in a huff ... and he said, ‘Who is the mother of that kid over there?’” she said. “He said, ‘Your son just put his hands on my son and called him a loser.’”

The boy’s mother said she tried to talk to Rod Olsen calmly about what happened, but he proceeded to be verbally abusive toward her and her son’s grandmother, who also was at the practice. Rod Olsen was using profanity and wouldn’t let up even when other children on the team, as well as parents and the coach, started to take notice, she said.

Ryan Bird, parent of another child on the team, said, “He basically just was attacking her as a mom. I have never seen a man (verbally) attack a woman like this.”

The woman said it wasn’t until after practice, when she picked up her son, that she felt his pants were wet. She asked him why, and he replied that he wet his pants because “that man scared me.”

As she walked to her car, the woman said, Rod Olsen followed her and continued to rebuke her for her son’s behavior and her poor parenting.

She left with her son and went to Riverbank to get dinner. It was there, she said, that her son started complaining about his arm hurting. She lifted his sleeve and saw bruises in the shape of fingers on his arm. A picture the woman took at the time shows three long red marks on the child’s bicep.

She drove back to Modesto, to her son’s father’s house, where she called police. A criminal investigation was launched and a report was filed with child protective services when the woman took the boy to the doctor the next day.

Neither Modesto police nor the District Attorney’s Office would provide details to The Bee about what the investigation found had occurred between Rod Olsen and the woman’s son.

The Modesto Youth Soccer Association also started an investigation, according to Chairman Frank Cousineau.

Rod Olsen was asked not to attend any practices or games pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, but Cousineau said that in mid-September, the board decided to put Rod Olsen’s child on a different team and let him return to the field.

About the same time, the Police Department forwarded its investigation to the District Attorney’s Office.

“Once it went to that level, we felt that it was taken out of our hands, and from our side, we are somewhat in limbo,” Cousineau said.

“Stories (about the incident) were somewhat inconsistent,” he said. “There were some statements that he touched the child and some said, ‘No, he talked to him in a normal tone of voice.’”

But the boy’s mother said she has no doubts about the extent to which her child was victimized and is angry MYSA didn’t ban Rod Olsen indefinitely.

Her son had marks on his arm for days and is still emotionally affected, she said. “(Rod Olsen) was so out of line by getting up, getting so mad at a 4-year-old ... scolding him, making him urinate on himself and then coming over to reprimand me,” the woman said.

Cousineau said that during the 10 years he has served on the MYSA board, only about half a dozen parents have been told not to return to the field because of their behavior. He said parents have threatened coaches or yelled at referees, but apart from this incident, allegations of physical abuse never have been brought to his attention.

Rod Olsen said he has not received the surrender letter, but he and wife Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, were out of town Monday.

The maximum penalty for a conviction of the misdemeanor offense of causing a child to suffer is six months in county jail. Other terms include mandatory probation for 48 months, a protective order for the victim against the defendant and at least one year of child abuse treatment counseling for the defendant.

Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at etracy@modbee.com or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter @ModestoBeeCrime.

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