After an Oklahoma City youth baseball coach was charged with a lewd act with a female child earlier this month, several people in the community said they are keeping an open mind until his courtroom judgment day comes.

Chad Eric Casula, 41, of Oklahoma City, was charged Aug. 19 in Cleveland County District Court with a lewd act with a child under the age of 16. According to court records, the now 14-year-old girl was about 10 years old at the time of the alleged incident.

Casula was booked into Cleveland County jail the same day he was charged and bonded out less than an hour after he was in custody. He bonded out on a $75,000 bond, court records show.

Casula’s youth baseball team plays out of Davis Ballpark in south Oklahoma City and is comprised of 6- and 7-year-old children. Adam Davis, owner of Davis Ballpark, said he has consulted the ballpark’s attorney and their stance is Casula is innocent until proven guilty. Davis said he’s also spoken to other ballparks and they’ve taken a similar stance on the matter.

“We’re still letting him come out here and coach,” Davis said. “In America, you’re innocent until proven guilty.”

Davis said everyone on the team has an idea of what’s going on and the parents on the team are continuing to let their children play on Casula’s team. Several parents of children on the team were contacted but declined to comment on the matter.

The coach of another youth baseball team, Dalbert Cannady, said he wouldn’t let his son play on Casula’s team, but at the same time, he’s keeping his judgment at bay until Casula is proven guilty or not guilty.

“I don’t feel like he should be at the ballpark,” Cannady said, adding, with that in mind, Casula hasn’t been convicted of the charge yet.

Eric Stumps, another youth baseball coach from Tuttle, said he doesn’t know Casula outside of the baseball scene, but he seemed like a great guy and has always been nice during their encounters at the ballpark.

However, Stumps said he doesn’t believe Casula should be coaching right now because of the situation.

Ron Cartmill, president of the Moore Youth Baseball Association, said they are fully aware of the situation, but it is an internal matter and he is not allowed to comment on it.

A tournament bracket on the Moore Youth Baseball Association’s website shows that Casula’s team competed in a tournament Saturday in Moore and was the winner of its pool, 7U. The season lasts until the end of October.

Casula’s attorney, James Pasquali, said the charges against his client are “baseless.”

“The facts are going to play out in this case,” Pasquali said. “We’re going to have our day in court and he’s going to be vindicated.”

Pasquali said attorney Scott Adams also is representing Casula for this case.

“Obviously they’re in the middle of a nasty custody battle and he denies any and all allegations,” Adams said, regarding Casula’s son. “But, we look forward to our day in court.”

A preliminary hearing conference has been set for Casula at 1 p.m. Sept. 3 in Cleveland County District Court.

While there were some parents and members of the community who voiced concern to The Transcript about Casula continuing to coach, none would go on record about the matter.

The charge: Casula was charged with the felony after a 14-year-old girl told friends at a June birthday party he made her do sexually inappropriate things when she was younger, according to an affidavit filed with the charge.

The incidents allegedly occurred at Casula’s south Oklahoma City home in Cleveland County when the girl was about 10 years old, the affidavit said. She told police the lewd acts occurred five different times within the span of two weeks when she was in fourth grade in 2009.

According to the document, Casula would be in the shower when he would yell for her to go into the bathroom and perform acts on him. When she tried to refuse, she told police his demands would become more adamant and he would tell her, “No is not an acceptable answer.”

The victim said she would give in for fear that Casula would “get mad and hurt her,” the affidavit said. The girl also told police that she was scared of Casula because of unreported domestic violence encounters she had seen him involved in while growing up.

Casula also told the girl not to say anything to her mother because her mother would only get mad at her if she did, the affidavit states. When she finally talked to her mother about the incidents, it was because another girl at the birthday party told her own mother what the victim told the group of girls, and eventually the victim’s mother was called, court records show.

After the girl’s mother found out, she called police. Shortly after, a victim protective order was filed against him in Oklahoma County.

Cleveland County court records show that Casula had a protective order filed against him in 2009, the same year the incidents allegedly occurred, but it was dismissed by the court since the parties were not related and the plaintiff did not make a police report of the crime stalking.

Oklahoma County court records also show Casula was convicted of or pled guilty to assault and battery in 1997.

Jessica Bruha 366-3540

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