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East Islip coach retaliated against softball player, parent says

The parent of an East Islip High School varsity softball player has filed a notice of claim against the school district that accuses the school’s softball coach of retaliating against her daughter after the parent complained about the coach’s fundraising requirements.

The coach is accused in the notice of claim of forcing the player to perform a “punishment drill” in March that consisted of sliding for “approximately 45 minutes.” The drill caused her to “bleed profusely” and suffer a broken tailbone, according to the notice of claim sent to the school on Wednesday.

Four days earlier, according to the claim, the parent complained to the athletic director about a series of fundraisers the coach “mandated” players take part in.

The notice of claim also details an earlier incident in May 2015 that accuses the coach of putting the player’s health at risk when he put her in a game to pitch despite her having a doctor’s note that said she should not play. As a result, the claim says, the player could not play again until September 2015.

A notice of claim is to inform the respondent of the intention to potentially file a lawsuit. The claimant has one year and 90 days after the incident on which the claim is based to file a lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for the East Islip Union Free School District confirmed that the school received the notice of claim and declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

In the notice of claim, the parent, Jocelyn Agosto, says softball coach Jason McGowan made players sell tickets to comedy shows, make gift baskets and take part in an NCAA basketball pool to raise money for the team. The notice of claim says that Agosto complained to athletic director Stephen Restivo about how much the coach’s fundraising was costing her and that Restivo and other school administrators did nothing.

Neither McGowan nor Restivo returned messages seeking comment.

The notice of claim, which Agosto’s attorney Steven Burton provided to Newsday, seeks unspecified medical expenses and repayment of about $1,000 that Agosto says she was required to contribute to fundraisers run by McGowan during her daughter’s two years on the team.

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