The game was delayed for 90 minutes while
students and coaches worked to repair the
city-owned field, battered by recent rains. Mr.
Renaud, 45, joined the teams after calling St.
Joseph to make sure the game was still on.
"I figured I would go and work on the field,"
he said last night from his Barrhaven home.
"Digging and raking is what I do most of the
Mr. Renaud hauled out his own wheelbarrow,
shovel and rake. But the two teams needed more
from a nearby shed - plus sand - to make the
field playable. A youth coach on hand to watch
the game had a set of keys, but they weren't
working, Mr. Renaud said.
So Mr. Renaud grabbed his pair of bolt
cutters and cut the lock himself. Inside the
shed he found a spare identical padlock.
"I wasn't stealing," he said. "I was the only
outside participant volunteering to help out."
The situation turned testy after the tools
and sand were taken to the field. A
groundskeeper arrived and exchanged harsh words
with Mr. Renaud, who alleges the man took a
swing and grazed his face.
"He started yelling at me and saying he was
going to have me charged," Mr. Renaud recalled.
"I guess he didn't want anyone on the field
because it was wet, it was creating more work
Police officers soon arrived, and handcuffed and
charged Mr. Renaud. They remained for about an
hour. By that time, weather had forced the
game's cancellation after half an inning.
Mr. Renaud is angry he was embarrassed and
felt belittled in front of his son and his
Mr. Renaud was released at the scene and will
appear in court on July 12. Ottawa police are
still investigating the alleged assault against
Barre Campbell, a spokesman for the City of
Ottawa, declined comment, saying the arrest was
a police matter.
Nick Cuffaro, a St. Joseph teacher and coach,
said he understands the police need to follow
standard arrest procedure, but felt some
sympathy was in order - especially with Mr.
Renaud's son watching. Mr. Cuffaro wants the
charges dropped, and has called the city and
police to complain.
"It's wrong; he clipped a $5 lock," Mr.
Cuffaro said. "But he was repairing the field
and the coaches and players were all helping.
This dad left work early, for an hour was trying
to repair the baseball diamond. All he was doing
was helping the kids play the game.
"He's not a criminal. The cops could have
just given him a ticket. I'm a bit upset about
"If they came to see me as a coach at the
school, I would have said: Listen, I'll buy you
brand new locks with school money tomorrow'."
Mr. Renaud, who coached in the East Nepean
Baseball Association, once volunteered at
outdoor municipal ice rink.
He remembers children often cutting locks on
dressing sheds during cold winter afternoons.
"Every other week a lock was getting cut and
nothing was ever made of that," he said.
"The fact was, the field wasn't going to get
any better by staring at it."
For the record, St. Joseph won Tuesday's
rescheduled game at Britannia Park. They left
for Oshawa last night to play in the Eastern
Ontario Secondary School Athletics Association
With files from Ciara Byrne
© Ottawa Citizen 2007