Martin MacDonald sentenced to community service for shoving Syracuse teen with autism

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - The man accused of shoving a teen runner with autism during a cross country race has been sentenced.

Martin MacDonald, 57, of Pittsford was charged with second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child after pushing 15-year-old Chase Coleman, of Syracuse to the ground.

On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 3 years of probation, 80 hours of community service, and a 5 year no contact order with Coleman.

MacDonald accepted a plea deal in November which guaranteed no jail time.

Coleman, who has autism, was running in a cross country meet near the Cobbs Hill Reservoir in Rochester on October 14 when MacDonald stopped and got out his car to confront Coleman.

MacDonald, who admitted in statements to police to shoving Coleman, said he thought Coleman was “on drugs,” “mocking him,” and was going to mug his wife and take her purse.

Coleman’s mother, Clarise, says her son is mostly non-verbal and may have been lost and attempting to ask for directions.

The Colemans initially had trouble filing charges, which was blamed on missing police paperwork.

Clarise said the incident traumatized her son to the point that he quit the team, but the community rallied around Chase and organized runs with him, including one with the Rochester Police Department.

In court, MacDonald apologized to Coleman and his family, saying he had no idea he was autistic and, "when I learned that, I felt horrible."

MacDonald also told the courtroom he has volunteered at AutismUp to learn more about the disability.


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