The Associated Press
A 21-year-old New Jersey man pleaded guilty Tuesday to vomiting on another spectator and his 11-year-old daughter in the stands during a Philadelphia Phillies game.
Matthew Clemmens, of Cherry Hill, N.J., pleaded guilty to one count each of simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment for his conduct during an April 14 Phillies-Nationals game at Citizens Bank Park.
Clemmens stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited on Michael Vangelo, an off-duty Easton police captain, and one of Vangelo’s daughters after Clemmens’ companion was ejected from the park, Assistant District Attorney Patrick Doyle said.
Clemmens and his friend were spilling beer, cursing and heckling Vangelo and his daughters from the time they arrived at their seats, according to a statement of facts read in court.
Vangelo’s 15-year-old daughter asked the pair to stop the profanity, and Vangelo complained to security that Clemmens’ friend was spitting, with some of it hitting his 11-year-old daughter, Doyle said.
After the friend was ejected, Clemmens was sitting alone behind the Vangelos when he answered his cell phone and said, “I need to do what I need to do. I’m going to get sick,” the prosecutor said.
Clemmens then put his fingers down his throat and threw up on the father, with some vomit splashing onto Vangelo’s younger daughter, Doyle said.
He then punched the father several times in the head before other fans in the stands subdued him, the prosecutor said. He screamed expletives at the crowd as he was led out of the park, Doyle said.
Clemmens’ mug shot showed him with a swollen black eye, and authorities acknowledged he was hit as he was being subdued. No one else was charged in the case.
In exchange for Clemmens’ guilty pleas, charges including reckless endangerment and corruption of minors were dropped.
Doyle said the Vangelos were satisfied with the case’s resolution and plan to attend Clemmens’ sentencing, which Family Court Judge Kevin Dougherty scheduled for July 30. Sentencing guidelines call for Clemmens to get probation, Doyle said.
Dressed in a navy suit and accompanied by his parents, the defendant appeared nervous as the charges against him were read. He did not address the judge beyond quietly replying “yes” as the description of events was read.
Public defender Richard Hark said his client has had no prior run-ins with the law and his behavior, which outraged fans in Philadelphia and beyond, was out of character.
“It’s probable he consumed too much alcohol,” Hark said, adding that Clemmens only turned 21 in March. “It’s not a justification for his behavior, just an explanation.”
Neither Clemmens nor his parents would comment as they left the courthouse.