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Yuma High basketball player claims she was inappropriately touched by referee

District says it reported a complaint to the Arizona Interscholastic Association

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A Yuma High School varsity basketball player claims she was inappropriately touched by a referee at a game in Phoenix.

The alleged incident happened on January 19, during the Lady Criminals' game at Shadow Mountain High School.

The victim's mother reached out to us saying the game continued to be played after the alleged incident. The mother claims her daughter had just made a play and put her hands on her knees and bent over to catch a breath. She claims at that time, the referee came behind her and grabbed her rear with an open hand.

She says that her daughter and a teammate immediately reacted to the referee’s actions and that the two were suspended for two games by the school.

Both games Thursday and Friday were cancelled.

The Yuma High School principal provided us with this response:

"Regarding the allegation of “inappropriate touching” by an official in the Shadow Mountain game on Jan. 19: Yuma High School administrators were made aware of the incident on the night of the game. We have worked with the student-athlete’s parents to support them, including sharing our concerns with the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), speaking with the Paradise Valley School District athletic director, and speaking with administrators at Shadow Mountain. AIA has assured us that the incident was reviewed and they are taking appropriate measures."

We have reached out to the Arizona Interscholastic Association for comment, and are waiting to hear back.

To note, the team has had issues with having enough players on the roster. We asked YHS about the matter, to which the school responded, "As for your second question about the team in general, the number of varsity student-athletes has fluctuated throughout the season, unfortunately. This has been related to a number of factors, including academic commitments for some of the girls."

The district also said two games were recently canceled due to a limited number of available student-athletes. The district said, "Assistant Coaches Jasmine Barraza and Isabel Ponce have been leading the team recently. We are unable to provide any additional details regarding personnel matters at this time."

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Luis Lopez

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