GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - Prosecutors said a former high school wrestling coach used hazing, grooming and isolating tactics to weed out the students he’s on trial for molesting.
Gary Goins, a 20-year veteran of Gaston County Schools, faces 22 sex abuse charges.
In pretrial motions the district attorney said he can show Gary “Scott” Goins used hazing to isolate his accusers and determine who was open to sexual advances.
He said Goins created an environment of intimidation and terror so that young wrestlers would blindly follow him.
District Attorney Locke Bell said he wants to present witnesses to testify that Goins started hazing wrestlers in the early 1990s.
"It is a time of isolating wrestlers from their parents,” Bell said.
He said the former wrestling coach at East Gaston High School used older wrestlers to indoctrinate the younger ones.
"Youngest men being stripped down by the oldest,” Bell said.
Bell said the young wrestlers were blindfolded and told they must perform sex acts in order to be accepted as teammates.
The older wrestlers presented hot dogs to their blindfolded counterparts.
“One didn't know for years that he did not perform oral sex on a teammate,” Bell said.
The assistant DA said Goins watched the younger wrestlers.
“A test to see who will resist him and who won't,” Bell said.
He said Goins directed the upperclassmen who made sexual contact with one of his three accusers in a motel room, during a wrestling trip.
Goins faces 22 felonies for sexual misconduct with three wrestlers from 1998 to 2004.
He resigned after he was charged last year.
His attorney doesn't want jurors to hear about hazing from the prosecution’s witnesses.
“They do not have anything to do with the victims. They are not the victims,” said defense attorney Brent Ratchford.
He said that testimony doesn't support or disprove the claims in this case.
"We would argue that the evidence is designed to prejudice the jury and inflame them,” Ratchford said.
The judge said he will hear from those witnesses later in the trial then decide if jurors should hear their testimony.
Goins’ attorney wants jurors to know whether one of the accusers was offered immunity for testifying against the former wrestling coach.
"Since he faces potential prosecution for attempted murder,” he said.
The prosecution said there is no deal. They never talked to the accuser about the alleged incident in April of last year.
Channel 9 learned one of the three former high school wrestlers that accused Goins of having sex with him set up a meeting with the coach at Posten Park in Lowell.
The two reportedly walked into the woods.
The wrestler is accused of using a rope to strangle the coach until Goins passed out.
Channel 9 was told later that night Goins woke up in a daze with no memory of what happened.
He called his wife.
She called 911.
Goins walked back to his car at Gaston High School about 7 miles away.
June 9, 2013: Gaston Co. coach, teacher accused of sexual abuse from 3
June 5, 2013: Police: Gaston Co. coach accused of molesting students