From October 2011 until May of this year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a series anonymous emails from someone who said the longtime football coach at a suburban Catholic high school—a man in his 70s—had solicited sex from a player. Other messages accused the school's lacrosse coach of sexually assaulting students. There were seven emails in all, and the allegations more or less coincided with news of the ongoing scandal a few hours away at Penn State, not to mention a recent child sex abuse trial that rocked the Philly archdiocese and resulted in the first guilty verdict against a senior official within the U.S. Catholic Church.
But after a lengthy investigation, prosecutors in suburban Montgomery County, Pa., determined the emails about Jim Algeo, the football coach at Lansdale Catholic from 1968 until his retirement after last season, and Nick Pison, its new lacrosse coach, were a hoax. Tim Udinski, 43, was arrested and charged today with stalking and harassment. The reason? He was pissed that Lansdale Catholic had fired him for what the Philadelphia Inquirer described as "heated arguments with players and an assistant." And what better way to get even than to try to ruin a bunch of people's lives, right?
Udinski allegedly sent the anonymous emails from a computer at a public library. The Bucks County Courier Times said police did nearly 200 hours of interviews with roughly 100 people and obtained 10 court orders to conduct searches before finally catching on.
"I was mad at the school for the way I was treated. I was just furious," [Udinski] told county detectives, the filing said.
Udinski himself had been the victim similar complaints last year. The school suspended him while it investigated, but it eventually reinstated him once it was determined the parent of one of his players was behind the hoax. As copycat crimes go, this one was incredibly stupid.
Fired coach charged in Lansdale Catholic smear campaign [Philadelphia Inquirer]
DA: Former Lansdale Catholic coach falsely claimed other coaches molested players [PhillyBurbs]