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Carl Pelini's domestic violence charge has been dropped

Pelini was accused of striking his wife during an altercation early Sunday morning. But both he and his wife on Friday denied the incident happened.

CANFIELD — The domestic violence case against Cardinal Mooney coach Carl Pelini has been dismissed.

Pelini, 56, was accused of striking his wife, causing bruising to her right eye, during an altercation early Sunday at their Ivy Hill Drive home, according to a Boardman Township police report.

But during a court hearing this morning, both Pelini and his wife denied the incident ever happened.

Pelini previously pleaded not guilty to his single misdemeanor count of domestic violence and appeared this morning in the Canfield-area county court for a pre-trial hearing. There, assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Mike McBride moved to dismiss the charge in light of new evidence presented by Pelini’s attorney, Lynn Maro of Youngstown, the prosecutor’s office confirmed.

That evidence suggested the prosecutor’s office would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pelini was guilty of the charge, said Gina DeGenova-Zawrotuk, the office’s public information officer.

“Based on all that information, we could not meet our burden [of proof] and elected to dismiss,” she said.

The prosecutor’s office did not retain copies of that evidence, DeGenova-Zawrotuk said.

Pelini’s wife was represented by her own attorney Friday, she added.

One of Pelini’s children reported the incident to police just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday, though that person did not witness the incident, according to the police report. During the 911 call, Pelini’s wife can be heard in the background “saying that she was hit by Carl,” the report reads.

Pelini had already left the home by the time officers arrived.

Pelini’s wife later told responding officers she and her husband were arguing and that it “all happened so fast.” When asked whether Pelini struck her with an object, she said “No, he just hit me.” Officers reported she was unable to provide more details.

She did not deliver a written statement to police, according to the report.

The woman was examined by EMS responders and transported to St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital for further treatment, according to the report.

Following the Sunday incident, Pelini was placed on leave from his position as Cardinal Mooney’s head football coach “pending an investigation and final resolution” to the case, according to a news release Monday from the school. Cardinal Mooney President Tom Maj named Mike Tucci interim head football coach.

Cardinal Mooney declined comment on today's court proceedings, said spokesperson Vince Taddei, adding that the incident is still "an internal personnel matter."

Boardman police issued an arrest warrant for Pelini, but he remained at-large for more than a day. A phone-locating app showed Pelini was in the Lake Milton area just after 3 a.m. Sunday

Pelini turned himself into Boardman police on Tuesday. His case was assigned to the Boardman area county court, but quickly moved to Canfield’s court after Boardman’s judge admitted to having a conflict of interest in the case.

Coaching history

Pelini previously coached at Kansas State, University of Nebraska, Minnesota State and Ohio University. 

Pelini became Florida Atlantic University’s head coach in 2011. He resigned before the 2013 season ended amid accusations of drug use. He later filed a lawsuit saying he was pressured to resign.

In 2015, Pelini was hired by his younger brother Bo, Youngstown State University’s head coach.

Pelini was hired as defensive coordinator at Bowling Green State University in late 2017. He then returned to YSU in 2019 and was named head coach at Cardinal Mooney in July 2020. 

Justin Dennis

About the Author: Justin Dennis

Justin Dennis has been on the beat since 2011, covering crime, courts and public education. Dennis grew up in Poland and Salem and studied journalism and communications at Cleveland State University and University of Pittsburgh.
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