You are viewing the print version of this article. Click here to view the full version.
Columbia Missourian

NU player charged for hitting Tigers fan

By ERIC OLSON, Associated Press
January 7, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST

OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska football player Kellen Huston was charged in Columbia, Mo., on Tuesday with a misdemeanor for punching a fan who rushed the field after the Cornhuskers’ loss to Missouri on Oct. 11.

Richard Hicks, Boone County assistant prosecutor, said Huston has agreed to plead guilty to peace disturbance by fighting. Hicks said Huston’s attorney, Milt Harper of Columbia, would appear on Huston’s behalf in county court today.

Harper did not immediately return messages left at his office and home. NU students are on winter break, and Huston, a junior cornerback, did not return a message left at his parents’ home in Ankeny, Iowa.

The misdemeanor is punishable by one day to six months in jail, a fine of $1 to $500, or both.

Huston, the Huskers’ holder, punched Matthew Scott, 21, of Lee’s Summit, in the face as fans stormed the field. At least two television stations captured the incident on videotape.

Scott was ticketed last week for trespassing. Fans had been warned to stay off Faurot Field as the game ended.

Scott’s attorney, John Picerno of Kansas City, Mo., said Scott required surgery for a fractured nasal passage and deviated septum. Some of Scott’s teeth also were loosened, Picerno said.

Picerno said he is negotiating a settlement with attorneys for the University of Nebraska and Huston.

Scott is seeking compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering and special damages, Picerno said.

Picerno said he did not know how much money Scott would ask for because all of his medical bills have not been received. Scott had difficulty sleeping and eating for three or four weeks after the incident, Picerno said.

Picerno said Scott’s reputation has been damaged because of the national media exposure the incident received.

Rich McCloud of Kansas City, who is representing NU, and Thomas Berg, a Des Moines lawyer representing Huston, declined to comment other than to say they were aware that Scott would be seeking damages.

On the criminal matter, Picerno said he was satisfied with the misdemeanor charge.

“It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel Matthew was assaulted,” Picerno said. “Unquestionably, it was an assault. Considering all the circumstances — Kellen’s age, it being an emotional loss, fans running on the field — it probably was a knee-jerk reaction.”

Hicks said he did not charge Huston with assault because Huston has expressed remorse and Scott did not want to pursue the more serious charge.

Picerno said even though Scott was trespassing, he did not deserve to be punched by Huston.

“The fact is, college kids are college kids,” Picerno said. “It happens everywhere. In this particular case, of all trespassers, he was among the least culpable because he did not run to the end zone where the goal posts were getting torn down. He didn’t want to be down there involved in that.”

Neither did Scott want to confront Huston or any other Nebraska football player, Picerno said.

“He was down there and running around,” he said. “He’s a lot smaller than Kellen, and Kellen is in full battle gear with a facemask and everything. He’s not going to go pop a Nebraska football player.”