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Real Monarchs head coach suspended after domestic violence assault charges

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DRAPER — The head coach of the Real Monarchs was suspended Tuesday shortly after being charged with several counts of domestic violence assault and attempted tampering with a witness.

Mark Briggs, who became head coach of the local soccer team in March 2017, will be suspended starting with Tuesday's game against Sacramento Republic FC.

“Real Salt Lake will remain in close communication with local authorities and MLS/USL offices throughout this investigation. The club will not have further comment on this matter until the conclusion of our investigation, at which time additional and further disciplinary action may or may not be taken,” club officials said in a statement Tuesday night.

Jamison Olave, a former defender for Real Salt Lake who is an assistant on the coaching staff, will be the interim head coach.

Briggs was charged with two counts of domestic violence assault, one count of domestic violence in the presence of a child and one count of attempted tampering with a witness, according to charging documents. All counts are Class B misdemeanors.

Charging documents state that Briggs may have assaulted or attempted to assault someone living with him in August 2017, then again in November in the presence of a child. In December, Briggs allegedly attempted to “prevent an official proceeding or investigation," according to court documents.

The original complaints were filed by Briggs' ex-partner, according to the coach's attorney, Greg Skordas. He said the complaints were initially screened by officials at the Salt Lake district attorney's office who ultimately decided to decline the case.

"We believed at that time that the case was over, so we were surprised to learn that Draper City then picked it up," Skordas said.

Skordas believes that Draper will also choose to drop the case once they sit down with Briggs' legal representation and go over the "facts of the case."

"Nothing has changed, the facts didn't change," Skondas said. "It’s just unfortunate that they wouldn’t have given us that opportunity before filing and making all of this public."

Briggs is set to appear in court June 12 to be arraigned. He will plead "not guilty," according to Skordas.

Prosecuting attorney in the case, David Lassetter, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Real Monarchs is a soccer club that plays in the United Soccer League and is affiliated with the Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake. Briggs was named United Soccer League coach of the year in November following a series of wins.

USL leadership also issued a statement via Twitter Tuesday regarding the charges against Briggs, saying the league is "very saddened and disturbed by the allegations revealed today" and that the league is "in direct communication with the club leadership to understand the full details and discuss the best course of action."

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