GASTONIA Defense witnesses on Wednesday testified that they trusted former East Gaston High School wrestling coach Gary Scott Goins and never saw any suspicious actions by the coach.
Goins, 46, is accused of committing sex crimes against three former members of his wrestling team between 1998 and 2004.
Terry Edge of Mount Holly testified that he was Goins’ assistant coach from 2003 to 2005 and that his son had taken part in the wrestling program.
Describing overnight trips with the wrestling team, Edge told the jurors that he never saw any suspicious actions by Goins.
“I would not let my son wrestle with anyone if I had any doubts,” Edge said.
After Goins was charged with sex crimes in 2013, Edge said he got two phone calls from one of the former wrestlers who’d made the accusations.
Edge said he asked the man “point blank” if the accusations were true.
“He said ‘yes, maybe,’ ” Edge recalled. “He was varied about what he said.”
Under cross-examination by Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell, Edge testified that he was close to Goins and “I do not feel the charges are true.”
The Observer’s policy is not to publish the names of sexual abuse victims.
Sherry Sparrow told the jury how her son had wrestled on Goins’ team in more than 100 tournaments.
“I trusted him,” she said. “We all did.”
The nephew of Goins told the jurors about his close relationship with one of the accusers and how they were together just hours before police arrested his uncle.
Tyler Goins, 22, testified about how he’d wrestled on his uncle’s team in high school and in his freshman year had met one of the wrestlers who later accused the coach of sexual misconduct.
Goins recalled the two of them “chilled out a lot, having lunch, going to movies. We were drinking together and smoking pot together.”
Goins testified that he hung out a lot at his uncle’s house and saw the accusers there.
Defense attorney Brent Ratchford asked Tyler Goins if he’d seen or heard anything to concern him during all the time he’d spent around his uncle and the accuser.
“Absolutely not,” Goins said. “He (Gary Scott Goins) was like a dad to him (the accuser). I’ve seen the Fathers Day cards he’s given to (my uncle).”
The trial resumes at 1 p.m. Thursday.
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