GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - The former high school wrestling coach accused of sexually abusing three of his students took the stand Friday in his own defense.
He denied forcing his students to physically abuse each other.
In a move that came as a surprise to some, the defense called Scott Goins to the stand.
Prosecutors said the former East Gaston wrestling coach created an environment of intimidation and terror so that young wrestlers would blindly follow him.
Goins told the jury things like "roughhousing" and "hazing" are part of the wrestling culture and even happened when he wrestled in middle school.
“In order to earn our letter in school, we were required to dress in drag and they sold us as slaves to the others,” he said.
Goins denied ever forcing students to choke each other until they passed out.
“I have never ordered a student to choke another student. I've seen it happen and I didn't stop it. It's roughhousing,” he said.
The defense didn't ask him about the allegations of sexual abuse but they did call his wife Angela Goins to the stand for a second time.
She talked about that night last year when one of the accusers allegedly went to a public park with Goins and allegedly used a rope to choke him until he passed out.
“I just remember him being really muddy. His underwear was really red and he had wounds,” she said.
Prosecutors asked if her husband ever mentioned one of the accusers being there that night.
“He said the only thing he remembered was crawling out of brush and we assumed that's where he got the scratches from,” she said.
Goins will be back on the stand Monday morning.
Read our past coverage:
June 5, 2013: Police: Gaston Co. coach accused of molesting students
June 6, 2013: 3rd student accuses coach of sexual abuse