The Washington Post

Loudoun parents drop protective order petition against football coach

Players with the Upper Loudoun Youth Football League brought a signed football to court Wednesday in support of assistant coach Seth Rocca. (Courtesy Gregory Harris)

The parents of a 14-year-old football player who was allegedly assaulted during a practice session on Sept. 28 decided not to seek a protective order against the assistant coach accused of shoving the teen to the ground.

 At a hearing Wednesday, a Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge granted the parents’ request for a nonsuit, meaning that their petition to seek a protective order was dismissed without prejudice, according to defense attorney Gregory Harris.

Seth H. Rocca, 28, an assistant coach for the Upper Loudoun Youth Football League, was charged with assaulting the young player after he allegedly shoved the boy to the ground during a practice session. The player’s parents called Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deputies to the scene, and Rocca was charged with simple assault as a result of their investigation, according to authorities.

Several coaches and parents who witnessed the interaction questioned the charge, arguing that the incident was a misunderstanding that escalated after Rocca and the player both fell to the ground while Rocca was attempting to demonstrate a blocking technique.

 The parents of the teen player initially sought a protective order against Rocca, but they told the judge at Wednesday’s hearing that they did not with to proceed with the matter, Harris said.

 Harris, who represents Rocca, said about 30 players and 15 parents showed up at the courthouse to support Rocca at the hearing. The players brought a football with their signatures and “Coach Rocca” written in marker to the courthouse, Harris said.

 “Seth says he’s going to put that in a glass case, it will be one of his treasured possessions,” Harris said.  “He was very touched.”

 Rocca still faces the assault charge, and a trial is scheduled for Nov. 10. Harris said a larger crowd of community members are expected to attend the trial as a sign of solidarity with Rocca.

 “I continue to be optimistic, but of course you have to continue to be prepared to go into court and defend the case,” Harris said. “That’s what we’ll be prepared to do.”

 The family of the alleged assault victim declined to comment.

Caitlin Gibson is a local news and features writer for The Washington Post.


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