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Counselor arrested after camper bruised

As punishment for spitting a sunflower seed on his counselor's car Tuesday afternoon, an 11-year-old YMCA summer camper wound up with a bruise on his neck, Pasco County sheriff's deputies said.

The boy told deputies that he accidentally spit a sunflower seed on his counselor's 2001 blue Mitsubishi Mirage.

The camp counselor chased him, caught him and grabbed him by the back of the neck, he told deputies. Deputies said the camper had a bruise on his neck.

Tuesday night, they arrested counselor Donald Nicholas Brandt, a 19-year-old University of South Florida student from New Port Richey. Brandt, a former all-county football player at River Ridge, faces a charge of simple battery.

A YMCA spokeswoman said Brandt was summer child camp counselor at the association's Trinity location, 8411 Photonils Drive. The full-day camp combines sports and education for school-age children.

"(Brandt) was immediately fired on the spot," spokeswoman Mandy Griffith said. "After that act, he was let go."

Tuesday, Brandt only worked half a day, Griffith said. He told deputies that he was not working at 12:30 p.m. when the sunflower seed incident occurred.

Brandt posted $250 bail early Wednesday and was released from the county jail in Land O'Lakes. Later in the day, he told the St. Petersburg Times that the boy spit a mouthful of seeds "for no reason."

"He just walked up and spit sunflower seeds on the side of the car and inside the car," Brandt said.

Brandt said he grabbed the boy by the shoulder.

The deputy said he asked Brandt if there was any chance he might have grabbed the boy's neck.

According to the report, Brandt said, "I went to grab his shoulder and it may have slipped up. There's a possibility.

_ Ryan Davis is the police reporter in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. His e-mail address is rdavissptimes.com.

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