SALISBURY A Rowan County grand jury was set to consider indicting longtime area soccer coach Ralph Wager on child sex charges Monday, amid new reports that some of the alleged abuse may have occurred on the Catawba College campus where he worked in the 1980s.
The results of the secret grand jury session were not available Monday night.
Wager, 69, remained in Rowan County jail under a $1 million bond. Earlier this month, he was charged with multiple counts of first-degree child sex offense, taking indecent liberties with a child and crimes against nature.
The alleged incidents occurred between 1987 and 1989, and investigators were trying to determine whether any happened on Catawbas campus.
The Salisbury Post reported Monday that investigators believe some of the abuse occurred in a home and office Wager had on campus. They also said abuse allegations prompted Wager to resign, the newspaper reported.
It is not known whether anyone beyond the college campus was made aware of any suspected abuse.
Under a state law in effect since 1980, anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected by a parent, guardian, custodian or caretaker is required to report the case to the Department of Social Services. But a coach would not fall under the definition of caretaker, said Janet Mason, a professor at the UNC School of Government.
Wager was a fixture in the youth soccer community for years. He most recently worked in Charlotte, but has been suspended indefinitely by the N.C. Youth Soccer Association.
He was arrested in mid-July, about two months after Rowan investigators say they began looking into claims Wager had sexual contact in the late 1980s with a boy who was younger than 10.
The Rowan County Sheriffs Office has said the accuser met Wager on the Catawba campus, where they were involved in another sports activity.
Last week in court, prosecutors said that the mother of the accuser, now an adult, contacted Catawba officials at the time about the alleged abuse. The college reportedly responded by restricting the coachs access to its pool.
Catawba is working with outside investigators on its own probe into the claims, including interviewing former employees. A judge ordered the college to turn over documents as part of the Wager investigation.
The sheriffs office said Monday that the case remains under investigation.
Detectives are working to determine, among other things, whether there are additional victims. But the office said it wouldnt release additional information on the initial charges Wager faces, saying doing so might hinder prosecution.
In a statement, Catawba President Brien Lewis said the college saw the discovery order as further indication that we are all determined to investigate these allegations. The College will continue to cooperate with law enforcement.
Observer researcher Maria David contributed.