New Jersey man jailed for vomit attack on spectator at baseball park

By Calvin Palmer

The New Jersey man who intentionally vomited on a spectator and his 11-year-old daughter at a Philadelphia Phillies game was today sentenced to up to three months in jail and community service.

Matthew Clemmens, 21, of Cherry Hill, pleaded guilty in May to charges of assault harassment and disorderly conduct, after admitting he stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited on off-duty police captain Michael Vangelo and Mikayla Vangelo at a Phillies-Nationals game on April 14.

Clemmens was taken into custody after Family Court Judge Kevin Dougherty imposed the sentence of one to three months in jail, two years of probation and 50 hours of community service.

The judge suggested the community service should involve cleaning the toilets at Citizens Bank Park.

Clemmens sobbed as he read from a statement expressing remorse for his actions.

“I’m working every day to clear this black mark from me and my family,” he said. “Give me the opportunity to show you who I am and not who I was that one afternoon.”

His parents, acquaintances and grandfather — who took a 27-hour train ride from Florida to attend the sentencing — testified that he was a good person who volunteers in his community and made one uncharacteristically bad mistake.

Judge Dougherty said he believed the defendant’s apology was “feigned”.

“Superficially you present yourself one way, but outside of the home you present yourself another way,” Dougherty said, calling Clemmens a “mean-spirited and vulgar” young man who humiliated his family and tarnished the city’s reputation.

Prosecutors said Clemmens and his friend had been heckling Michael Vangelo and his two daughters during the game. Vangelo’s 15-year-old daughter asked them to stop the profanity around her younger sister, prompting more heckling and cursing.

 The family was doused with beer when they rose to cheer a Phillies home run, and Vangelo eventually complained to security that Clemmens’ friend was spitting, which hit his younger daughter’s jacket and seat.

After the friend was ejected by security officials, Clemmens left briefly. He later returned to the seats, taking a cell phone call, and declaring, “I need to do what I need to do. I’m going to get sick.”

Clemmens then stuck a finger down his throat and vomited, striking Vangelo and the area in front of his daughters’ seats. Vangelo shoved Clemmens, who responded with at least one punch, cutting Vangelo’s ear and face.

Surrounding fans were able to subdue Clemmens, who somehow managed to sustain a black eye. He was arrested on the scene — thrusting both middle fingers in the air and “screaming expletives” as he was taken away, prosecutors said.

Vangelo, of Easton, Pennsylvania, said his daughter is still traumatized.

“What really bothers me about the incident is that Mikayla refuses to talk about it,” he testified.

The family has received offers from the team and complete strangers for tickets to future games, but “she does not want to go,” said Vangelo. He said he also has not returned to Citizens Bank Park since the assault.

The judge also ordered Clemmens to pay Vangelo $315, the cost of the five tickets for him and his family to attend the game. Vangelo said he intended to donate the money to the Easton Police Athletic League.

It looks as though Clemmens is going to have plenty to sob about in the next month or so as he undergoes a life-changing experience. He goes into jail as a boy, I refuse to describe him as a man despite his 21 years, and will more than likely emerge as someone’s bitch. I believe fat boys are quite popular with jail inmates.

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer.]

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