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Potsdam man heads to court for allegedly harassing 10-year-old

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POTSDAM — A Potsdam man who allegedly walked onto the ice during a youth hockey practice and yelled at and kicked the skate of a 10-year-old boy is scheduled to appear in Potsdam Village Court on Friday morning on a harassment charge in connection with the incident.

The man, Christopher J. Martin, 40, of Potsdam, allegedly was upset that the boy had sprayed two young girls — one of whom was the 10-year-old’s sister — with ice chips from the boy’s skates when he stopped next to them.

Mr. Martin, an instructor in mathematics and computer science at Clarkson University, was charged with second-degree harassment Saturday after an investigation into the incident, which allegedly took place Nov. 23 at a hockey practice at Pine Street Arena.

Police say Mr. Martin, a spectator at that practice, walked onto the ice, grabbed a 10-year-old child who was not related to him, spoke to the child in a raised voice and then kicked that child’s skate.

Johnson Newspapers could not reach Mr. Martin for comment about the incident, but in a statement to police, Tracy L. Hoose, Colton, said her 5-year-old daughter was at a beginner’s hockey practice and her 10-year-old son went to help as an instructor.

Ms. Hoose said she was sitting in the bleachers near the end of the practice when she saw a man, later identified as Mr. Martin, walk about 15 feet onto the ice and grab her son by both arms.

“I don’t know who this person was,” Ms. Hoose said. “He started yelling at (her son) very loudly. I would describe it as screaming,” she noted in her statement to police.

Ms. Hoose said she started moving toward the door onto the ice surface after witnessing the confrontation.

“I kept watching him in disbelief,” she told police. “Before I was able to get off the last bleacher, I saw the man kick (her son’s) skate. He kicked it with a lot of force and appeared very angry.”

She said that her son skated away from Mr. Martin and that the man started to walk off the ice. She said she met him at the door to the ice surface and confronted him about the incident.

“I was teary-eyed because I was upset about what had happened. The guy told me (my son) had just sprayed the little girls that were standing in the doorway. He pointed to two girls. One of the girls he pointed to was my daughter. The other girl was a friend of my daughter’s who is also in my day care,” Ms. Hoose noted in her statement.

“The guy was still upset and was saying the skates are weapons and that if my son slipped and fell when he sprayed them, the girls could have ended up in the hospital,” she added.

In her statement, Ms. Hoose said Mr. Martin started to walk away from her, and she followed him, and the discussion turned to appropriate interactions between children and adults.

“I told him you can’t grab and kick kids. He said something to the effect of, ‘So you just let your kids do whatever they want?’ I told him no, that’s not what we do, but we handle ourselves very differently than this. ... And he responded without looking at me that he didn’t disagree with anything I had said.”

She said she exchanged first names with the man, shook hands with him, told him she was sorry it had come to that and then walked away.

Ms. Hoose said she discussed the situation with her son, and he said he had sprayed the girls a little but was just trying to stop quickly in front of them, and not much ice got on them.

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