McInerney Released From Prison, Awaiting Next Trial
Appellate panel rules Superior Court judge gave improper instructions to jurors
Bart McInerney, the former St. Rose High School baseball coach convicted in 2010 of child endangerment, was released from prison on his own recognizance Thursday afternoon after serving roughly two years of his 18-year sentence, NJ.com reports.
McInerney's lawyer won a new trial after a state appellate panel ruled Superior Court judge Anthony J. Mellaci Jr. during the trial gave jurors the wrong impression on what constitutes second-degree child endangerment, on which McInerney was convicted 10 times.
McInerney was sentenced for engaging in sexually explicit conversations with his players and paying them to send him explicit text messages of their masturbation habits from 2001 to 2007.
The coach also sometimes gave players condoms, asking they return them once used, several former players testified.
The appellate panel said McInerney, while a coach, didn't count as a guardian under the law and, therefore, was a more suitable candidate for the lesser third-degree endangerment charge, the report says.
Second-degree endangerment applies to abuse or neglect from a parent or guardian, the report says.
The validity of the evidence and testimony from the previous trial was never taken into question, the report says.
Third-degree child endangerment, the report says, carries a presumption of no jail time.
McInerney owns a home in Spring Lake Heights, the report says.