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Police seek charges vs. Sox fans

2 cited in row with Yankees rightfielder

(Correction: Because of reporting errors, a story in yesterday's City & Region section about Boston police seeking misdemeanor criminal charges against two Red Sox fans inaccurately described state law. Police have applied for criminal complaints alleging that the two fans engaged in disorderly conduct by ''disturbing" a public assembly. Also, the story said the attorney for one of the fans acknowledged that his client was being accused of having contact with a New York Yankee player. The attorney gave no such acknowledgment and could not because police have not made such an allegation.)

Boston police applied for misdemeanor charges yesterday against two Red Sox fans who tangled with New York Yankees rightfielder Gary Sheffield during last Thursday's game between the rival baseball clubs, a police spokesman said yesterday.

Sergeant Thomas Sexton said police are seeking criminal charges against the two fans in Boston Municipal Court alleging disorderly conduct by ''interfering with a public assembly." Police sought no action against Sheffield.

Sexton did not identify the fans by name because they have not formally been charged. A lawyer for Christopher B. House of Dorchester acknowledged that his client is being accused of having contact with Sheffield during the incident.

Matthew J. McCarthy said that House was disappointed that police want him to face criminal charges. ''We had hoped it was all over," McCarthy said.

House had issued a statement on Monday, after the Red Sox revoked his season ticket privileges for 2005 for allegedly interfering with a player from an opposing team. He said that he had no intention of striking Sheffield and that he does not believe he made contact with the outfielder.

House has not decided whether to seek criminal charges against Sheffield, McCarthy said.

''He hasn't made a decision one way or the other," McCarthy said. ''We haven't sought any complaints against Mr. Sheffield. We are waiting till everything falls."

A spokesman for Major League Baseball declined to comment on the actions by police. The Associated Press reported that Sheffield emerged from a meeting with officials from the baseball commissioner's office yesterday and indicated that he was not sure if he wants to press charges against two fans.

''I just want to see it played out first; I'm not going to make any judgments first," Sheffield said in New York after meeting for 20 minutes with Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, a lawyer for Major League Baseball, Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost, and Sheffield's agent, Rufus Williams.

Sheffield said they watched the replay about five times. They asked: ''What was my reaction? What was I thinking? And I told them what I was thinking," Sheffield said, crediting a meeting in spring training in which players were told how to react in certain situations, with an emphasis on avoiding interactions with fans.

Sheffield was satisfied that baseball understood ''that I listened to the meeting we had in spring training and I set the example for others."

Of House's statement, Sheffield said, ''He has the right to feel the way he feels, and I have the right to feel the way I feel."

Sheffield said the first time he saw the beer thrown was at yesterday's meeting. He did not think the team's decision to bar the alleged beer-thrower from buying tickets was sufficient. ''He'll just have his friend go buy. I don't think it's stiff enough," he said.

A decision on possible discipline by the commissioner's office against Sheffield was not expected until today at the earliest.

The Red Sox declined to comment on the matter.

The next step in the case against the fans is for a clerk-magistrate at Boston Municipal Court to hear evidence, usually in a closed-door proceeding. The clerk-magistrate then decides whether criminal charges are warranted. David Procopio, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said prosecutors would await the clerk-magistrate's decision.

''If the court sees fit to issue complaints, the district attorney's office will evaluate the evidence to determine if the case should be prosecuted," said Procopio.

House had been scheduled to appear this morning on the Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI-AM radio, but McCarthy said his client will not speak publicly or make any media appearances today.

McCarthy said that he spoke with a representative of the Red Sox yesterday and asked them to change their minds on the ticket suspension, but that the team would not budge.

''They are sticking by their decision," McCarthy said of the Red Sox. He said House, a ''loyal fan since 1992," remains disappointed that the Sox have stricken his season ticket privileges.

David Abel of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John Ellement can be reached at

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