MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa. – The father of a youth football player and a waitress who worked with him were behind shotgun shells with referees' names written on them that were left on a Pennsylvania field last fall, prompting the league to cancel its season, state police charged Friday.
The shells, which also had names of league officials, were found in October at the gate of the field used by the Mount Pleasant Area Junior Football League, police said. The league, based about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, has several teams grouped by age with players ranging from 6 to 14.
Joseph Loughner, 51, of Greensburg, and Kimberly Ross, 34, of Connellsville, were charged with conspiracy, terroristic threats and harassment. Ross also wrote threatening letters to a referee at Loughner's urging — on the back of paper placemats from the restaurant where both worked, police said.
Police didn't suggest the restaurant in Connellsville was aware of the threats. The woman who answered the restaurant's phone wouldn't say if either suspect still worked there.
Ross told police that Loughner was intimidating and repeatedly asked her to write the letters. She also said Loughner was "very nervous" after the shells were found and the remainder of the season was canceled, according to a criminal complaint.
Loughner had Ross write the letters to a referee in hopes he'd resign and told police he "thought the letters were funny."
Loughner wrote the letters because he and other parents had become increasingly unhappy with changes in league administration and rules, and player injuries angered him more, the complaint said.
Neither defendant had a defense attorney listed in online court records to speak on their behalf. Both were taken to the Westmoreland County jail after they were each unable to post $25,000 bond.
They face a preliminary hearing March 10.
The league's president, Rick Albright, declined comment.