Most Serious Charges Against Baseball Coach Dismissed

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

 A youth baseball coach accused of harassment had the most serious charges against him dismissed Tuesday in Lackawanna County court.

Now the coach claims the police who arrested him did not do their jobs correctly.

John Zahradnik of Archbald was accused of pulling a gun at his son's baseball game in April and threatening the parents from the other team in Scranton.

Zahradnik said the accusations against him made him look like a monster, ruined his reputation as a coach and were false.

In April, police said a youth baseball game at Colliery Field in south Scranton turned violent. Since that day there has been a dispute over how the fight unfolded.

Coach John Zahradnik was arrested and taken away in handcuffs as soon as he got home from the game. Two men had accused Zahradnik of threatening other parents with a gun, but that's not the way it happened, according to Zahradnik, who had the most serious charges against him dismissed in Lackawanna County court.

"The way the judicial system works, they took two men's statements and basically ran with it, and maybe jumped the gun a little bit," Zahradnik said of the investigating officers.

Zahradnik said his accusers were lying and that, in fact, he doesn't even own a gun. Zahradnik convinced the Scranton police officer who arrested him to reopen the investigation and take other accounts of what happened that night in April.

The result was Zahradnik's charges were dismissed and he agreed to instead plead guilty to disorderly conduct.

Police aren't sure if Zahradnik's accusers will be charged with giving a false statement. For Zahradnik, he said he now plans to file a civil suit against those two men and Scranton police for defamation of character.

"But now that this has come out of it, and I knew that this is what was going to come out of it, I've kind of, for myself I'm at peace with it. If people still want to view me as this monster then so be it," Zahradnik added.

Newswatch 16 contacted Scranton Police Chief Dan Duffy about the potential civil suit against his department. He said the arresting officer was justified and had enough information to charge Zahradnik.