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Concord basketball, lacrosse coach charged in assault

Amanda Bacher

Amanda Bacher

A Concord High School basketball and lacrosse coach has been charged with assault after the police said she repeatedly slammed an ex-girlfriend against a fridge and refused to leave the woman’s home last month.

The coach, 24-year-old Amanda Bacher, is also known for being at the center of a high-profile, stalking case in 2007 that involved her relationship with a teacher at the school.

Bacher is both an assistant coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team and a coach of the girls’ junior varsity lacrosse team. Principal Gene Connolly said yesterday that Bacher is on leave from those positions, but he declined to discuss the matter further.

Bacher’s attorney, Jim Rosenberg, said she denies the assault allegations and believes the other woman should have been charged.

Both women have filed domestic violence petitions against the other. Bacher’s 28-year-old ex-girlfriend, who is not being named by the Monitor because she hasn’t been charged, has had her petition temporarily granted. A hearing on both petitions is scheduled for Friday.

The police say they were called about a domestic dispute at the Union Street home of Bacher’s ex-girlfriend at about 8:17 p.m. March 11. Bacher had shown up at the residence at about 7 that evening, upset because her ex was in a new relationship, the police said. The woman invited Bacher inside, not wanting her to disturb the neighbors, and she told her the man Bacher was referring to was just a friend, the police said.

“Bacher became upset with (her) answer and grabbed the front of (her) shirt collar with both hands and began punching her into the fridge. Bacher did this several times and (the woman) pushed her off,” Concord police Officer Kaila Buffis wrote in her report.

Bacher then went into the living room and began reading text messages on the woman’s phone.

“(She) again explained that they were just friends,” the officer wrote. “Bacher was upset with her response and came across the kitchen and grabbed (her) around the neck with one hand.”

Bacher pulled at the woman’s shirt collar and backed her into the kitchen door, prompting the woman to again push her away, the police said.

But that didn’t end the confrontation.

The woman’s cell phone battery had died so Bacher went into the bedroom to plug it in, wanting to read more text messages. Once the phone was charging, Bacher twice tried to call the man she believed her ex was now dating, the police said. She then grabbed Bacher’s shirt collar again “and began shaking her back and forth,” the officer wrote.

Bacher left after about 45 minutes, the police said.

According to the police, Bacher returned to the home while officers were there but quickly left. An officer who saw her car pull into the driveway followed her and stopped Bacher on Maple Street, the police said.

Several paragraphs of the police report pertaining to the conversation between an officer and Bacher have been redacted. Concord Lt. Tim O’Malley said Bacher was initially uncooperative with the police and denied that any incident occurred. O’Malley said Bacher made a full statement to the police after she was charged.

She was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail. The charges against Bacher, three counts of simple assault, are Class A misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Domestic violence petition

Bacher’s ex-girlfriend filed her domestic violence petition, a brief request summarizing the incident, the next day at Concord’s district court.

Two days later on March 14, Bacher filed her own lengthy petition saying the woman had kept her from leaving the apartment by using her “size and strength” and taking advantage of Bacher’s limited mobility due to a recent ACL reconstruction surgery.

“She used her strength to overpower me from exiting her apartment by standing in front of the first door and pushing me backwards anytime I tried to grab the door knob, and grabbing my arm and pulling me back when I would try to leave through the second exit and then would lock the door,” Bacher wrote in her petition.

Bacher also said she has been concerned because the woman keeps firearms unattended around her home and has a history of abusing alcohol. Bacher said her ex-girlfriend has hid her car keys twice, pinned her to a bed to keep her from leaving and stated that Bacher is the only thing in her life worth living for.

“(Now) that I am out of her life for good I am petrified she will do something drastic by causing harm to either myself or my family,” she wrote in her petition.

Stalking petition

The stalking case involving Bacher gained attention in 2007, during her senior year, after her mother complained to school officials about a teacher having a close relationship with her daughter.

According to court records, the student and then-teacher Patricia Hardman often talked on the phone for long periods and visited during school. The two continued to speak, with each initiating phone conversations, even after the mother told them both to end the relationship, according to court documents. Bacher sometimes used her friends’ cell phones to call Hardman so her mother wouldn’t know they were still talking, according to court records.

After the mother complained, Hardman resigned in June of that year. Bacher then filed a stalking petition against her former teacher. At a hearing on the petition, Bacher said she kept talking to Hardman despite her mother’s concerns because she felt pressured.

Hardman’s attorney, though, argued that many of the phone calls had been initiated by Bacher. The lawyer said their communication had crossed the boundaries of a student-teacher relationship but it hadn’t risen to the level of stalking. (Hardman later hired a different lawyer, who denied that the relationship had been at all inappropriate.)

A judge, though, said he had no doubt that Hardman had stalked her student, according to a transcript of the hearing. Still, he denied Bacher’s petition because of a technicality. He asked her to file another one, and she did. That petition was ultimately resolved privately without a hearing.

The fight continued, though, when both sides went on to file civil lawsuits against the other.

Hardman argued Bacher and her mother, who was a Concord School District employee, invaded her privacy and defamed her. Bacher’s suit accused the former teacher of grooming her for a sexual relationship, saying Hardman had kissed her and given her directions to her home in Londonderry on a note card that also included the words, “My partner will be out of town.”

Rosenberg, who is representing Bacher now and also was her attorney during the earlier case, said yesterday that the civil lawsuits were resolved without a trial “to the satisfaction of all parties involved,” but he declined to provide further details.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)

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