NY Couple Accused of Beating Teen Theme Park Worker Over Mask Use
A New York couple is being accused of beating up a teenage theme park worker all because he suggested they wear a mask.
The Courier-Times reports that a trial has begun for Troy McCoy and Shakerra Bonds, charging them with assaulting a 17-year-old boy, fracturing his jaw and sending him to the hospital for a week. The altercation happened after the young worker confronted the couple for not following the park's mask policy.
Last August McCoy and Bonds were visiting Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA with their young children when they were reminded by the alleged victim that the park's policy mandated the use of masks. According to opening statements from the district attorney, the couple was seen later that day still not wearing masks, and became irate at the park worker for reminding them to follow the rules.
The prosecution alleges that McCoy and Bonds were exiting a ride when the female defendant "got in the face" of the teenager. As the park worker stretched out his hands to create distance between him and the angry parkgoer, Bonds reportedly punched him in the face twice while McCoy "sucker punched" him from behind, sending him to the hospital. Bonds also allegedly elbowed another employee in the face.
The couple's attorney insists that witnesses in the case got it wrong and it was the teen that attacked Bonds, not the other way around. The couple maintains they were merely defending themselves.
Last summer theme parks in surrounding states, like Sesame Place, opened to the public, but with strict social distancing and mask policies to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Video from Sesame Place taken in August of 2020 shows that attendance was limited and most parkgoers were following mask requirements.
Here in New York, theme parks have only just begun to fully reopen. Legoland New York in Goshen officially opens their entire theme park this week. Mask use is still required on all rides and when indoors at the park.
Workers can find themselves in a tough situation when required to enforce safety policies with guests who don't like to be told what to do. To remedy this, Legoland has signage explaining the mask policies clearly displayed throughout the park. On a recent visit, some workers made general announcements reminding parkgoers to put their masks on when entering ride areas but did not confront individuals who weren't following the rules. After hearing what happened at Sesame Place, that's probably a smart idea.
The trial against the New York couple continues this week. McCoy, who remains in prison, is charged with felony aggravated assault, recklessly endangerment, disorderly conduct, simple assault and conspiracy to commit that offense. Bonds is being charged with simple assault, conspiracy to commit that offense, disorderly conduct and harassment.