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Trial begins for wrestling coach accused of sex offenses

A former wrestling coach in North Carolina is facing serious allegations of sexual misconduct with his athletes, according to recent news reports. The defendant, age 46, is accused of 20 felony sex crimes, including statutory rape and indecent liberties with a child, among others. The man is accused of assaulting three former wrestlers at the East Gaston High School during a six-year span.

The man is currently standing trial in a North Carolina courtroom. He is accused of a variety of shocking acts, including locking wrestlers in a dark bedroom and encouraging them to strip out of their clothes for something called "mind training." He also allegedly instructed older team members to apply makeup to younger athletes as they stood in their underwear. The man is accused of having sex with the students on school property after athletic practice was completed.

Defense attorneys say that the coach is being wrongly painted as a predator, and he never committed the egregious sex crimes that have arisen in the case. Those attorneys say that the man was never unsupervised with athletes during team travels to Disney World and other destinations. Perhaps the most telling piece of evidence: One of the alleged victims actually invited the man to be in his wedding in 2009. Jurors are being encouraged to keep an open mind about the defendant.

This man has chosen to go to trial after being charged with the various sex offenses. Although proceeding to trial instead of pleading guilty is not the right choice for everyone, it is an appropriate option for some criminal defendants. The choice to proceed to a criminal trial should not be made lightly.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "Trial of former Gaston wrestling coach charged with sex crimes begins" Joe DePriest, Jul. 17, 2014

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