Home City park Over 60 attend private meeting showing support for tennis coach accused of child abuse

Over 60 attend private meeting showing support for tennis coach accused of child abuse


Community members gather around the Park City High School tennis coach who is accused of child abuse after allegedly defending himself from a student’s attack.

Faith Petersen is a mother of a senior who played tennis on the Park City High School girls’ tennis team for four years. Petersen told KPCW that she attended an event on Tuesday that drew around 60 people who she said showed up to stand in solidarity with coach Lani Wilcox and to help raise money for her legal defense. At the time of this report, a GoFundMe effort has raised over $16,000.

Petersen said Wilcox, accused of child abuse on one of the team members, has been part of the Park City tennis community for a long time.

“Lani is an important part of the tennis community, from club players to the high school tennis team,” Petersen said. “The girls love her – have the utmost respect for her. None of these girls would even think of hitting, I mean, hitting a coach. This meeting was all about unity, showing Lani that we We’re here to support her. We’ve raised a lot of money on a GoFundMe for legal fees because people see the injustice.”

Petersen said a 16-year-old team member attacked Wilcox because she was unhappy with her training decisions. According to Petersen, the student also attacked assistant coach Brad Smith, kicking him in the groin as he tried to intervene. Petersen said his daughter and others witnessed the event.

“She absolutely timed Lani, and there were other coaches I know who were at MARC when that happened,” Petersen said. “They were like in my 20 years of teaching kids, I’ve never seen this kind of aggression against a coach, just incredibly out of control.”

The Summit County District Attorney’s Office charged Wilcox with one count of child abuse, a third-degree felony. The student allegedly slapped Wilcox in the face during an argument over the student’s position on the team. After that, Wilcox allegedly grabbed the student by the neck, choked her, and then took her cellphone. Taking the cell phone is a separate misdemeanor charge. Utah law prohibits taking communication devices when someone calls emergency services.

Petersen told KPCW that his daughter said that while Wilcox was trying to restrain the student, the coach fell to the ground and suffered a concussion. She said people who know Wilcox and saw the event are stunned by the child abuse charges filed against her.

“A criminal charge of child abuse? said Peterson. Are you kidding me? It’s just crazy. It’s really crazy.”

Petersen said the high school and Park City police questioned her daughter during school hours this week. According to Petersen, some parents are concerned about the incident and the potential safety of their students.

“The girl was the instigator. Lani was trying to grab her hands to calm her down, fearing for the other kids, another punch to the face for herself,” Petersen said. “But none of that has been addressed, but I just think it’s a societal issue. But sooner or later we won’t have coaches. We won’t have teachers. We don’t ‘will have nobody who wants to take care of these children who have rights.

Due to the ongoing investigation, the Summit County District Attorney’s Office cannot comment on the case.

If anyone witnessed the incident and would like to submit a statement, they should contact the Summit County Sheriff‘s Office.