• Student with autism duct-taped to goal post gets big surprise


    NATRONA HEIGHTS, Pa. - The student with autism whose Highlands High School soccer teammates reportedly duct-taped him to a goal post got a big surprise Wednesday.

    Austin Babinsack was picked up at his home in a limo and taken to the Legends of Pittsburgh Athletic Complex to meet some of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and play soccer.

    The surprise was organized by Justin Miller, the health and physical education director in the Burrell School District.  He heard about the alleged incident and wanted to do something nice for Austin Babinsack.

    Miller said it was easy getting the Riverhounds to help.

    “You should be able to rely on your teammates.  That’s a part of the game.  When you hear about things like this, it’s sad.  We’re trying to make it a really positive experience,” said Riverhounds goalie Hunter Gilstrap.

    Austin Babinsack had a great time scoring goals on his favorite professional players.

    “It feels really nice,” he said.

    Before leaving the soccer complex, Austin Babinsack posed for pictures with the Riverhounds.  The players also gave him a signed autographed jersey, other jerseys and soccer gloves.

    Before the surprise, Austin Babinsack showed Channel 11’s Timyka Artist the dozens of cards he has gotten from supporters. 

    Last week, Austin Babinsack’s mom, Kristie Babinsack, said a woman heard her son’s cries for help and then saw him duct-taped to a goal post. The woman called police.

    “He was bawling. He was terrified,” Kristie Babinsack said.

    The coach of the soccer team was placed on leave.

    “Mr. Turner had absolutely no involvement in the incident, was not present when it happened and first learned of the allegations about the students after the fact,” his lawyer said.



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