Topsham man charged with assaulting teen after hockey game


BRUNSWICK (AP) – A Topsham man has been charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly grabbing a 13-year-old middle school hockey player by the neck, lifting him off the ground and throwing him onto a bench following a game.

James P. Murray, 40, could face a fine and jail time under a plea offer with the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.

The incident happened at about 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 3 at the Bowdoin College hockey arena shortly after a game between Mount Ararat Middle School and Bonny Eagle, police said.

Connor Toothaker said he stayed with his coach and some friends to watch a game between Brunswick High School and Lewiston, and was scuffling with some other boys over a baseball cap as they sat in the stands.

Connor told The Times Record of Brunswick that Murray ran at him, grabbed his neck with both hands and lifted him off the ground. Connor said the man then threw him down next to his coach, while yelling, “Don’t touch my kid.”

“I was scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” the boy said. “I didn’t even know who it was.”

Connor was not taken to the hospital, but the next day he received medical attention for a sprained neck, bruised larynx and marks around his neck, according to Rodney Toothaker, the boy’s father.

Rodney Toothaker said he received a letter from the district attorney’s office that said Murray had received a summons charging him with assault and could face a $300 fine and 48-hour jail sentence if he accepts a plea offer at his Feb. 13 arraignment.

Murray declined to comment about the incident.

His attorney, Jennifer Davis, said Murray is taking the matter seriously.

“He’s retaining an attorney, and we look forward to working with the district attorney and the courts of the state of Maine to appropriately resolve this matter,” he said.

Information from: The Times Record,

AP-ES-01-23-07 1257EST