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WOODS CROSS — A man who prosecutors say laid a heavy hit on a 13-year-old boy during a game of broom hockey in an LDS church gymnasium was charged Tuesday with felony child abuse.
Ryan Reed Stettler, 37, of Woods Cross, is charged in 2nd District Court with child abuse, a third-degree felony.
Prosecutors contend that Stettler acted recklessly on March 6 when he inflicted a serious injury on a 13-year-old boy, leaving him with a concussion and broken elbow that will require surgery to repair, according to charging documents.
During a game of broom hockey, the 13-year-old ran into Stettler's son, according to investigators. Later, Stettler "lowered his shoulder and ran toward the boy, knocking him down," the charges state.
The boy told police that Stettler said something to the effect of, "You can dish it out, but you can't take it," according to the charges.
The boy was taken to a local hospital after the injury.
"Parents have a tendency to get very excited when their children are involved in any kind of activity, as it should be. Sometimes it gets taken a little too far," North Salt Lake Police Sgt. Mitch Gwilliam said.
The incident happened at an LDS meetinghouse, 1847 W. 2180 South, during a young men's activity, according to police.
Some parents, who admit were not at the event and did not see what happened, told KSL there's no bad blood in this neighborhood and they don't believe there's any way Stettler tried to hurt the 13-year-old.
"I can't imagine that there was anything intentional. Nobody wants to hurt a child," said Sarah Richins, who knows the people involved in the incident.
In fact, Richins said she trusts Stettler with all four of her boys.
"Knowing him, there's no way that I would ever believe that he did this intentionally, trying to injure somebody else's child," she said.
KSL went to Stettler’s home to ask him about the incident, but he said he couldn’t talk on the advice of his lawyer. A date has not been set for his initial appearance in court.
Contributing: Jed Boal