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Wife testifies in trial of former wrestling coach accused of molesting students

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Photo Mike Hensdill - The Gaston Gazette
Former high school wrestling coach Scott Goins was in court Thursday, July 17, 2014 as jury selection continued at the Gaston County Courthouse on North Marietta Street in Gastonia. Here, Scott Goins and his lawyer Brent Ratchford talk together.

GASTONIA The wife of a former East Gaston High School wrestling coach charged with molesting team members told a jury on Thursday that she and her husband interacted closely with wrestlers and their families who often visited in their home.

Gary Scott Goins, 46, is accused of committing sex crimes against three former members of his wrestling team between 1998 and 2004.

On Thursday, under questioning by defense attorney Brent Ratchford, Angela Goins testified that she and her husband had been married 14 years and had been licensed foster parents who adopted three girls. Their son was born on Jan. 1, 2014.

Angela Goins teaches exceptional children at East Gaston High and up until last summer was head basketball coach of the girls’ varsity team.

Goins testified that she coached basketball in the old gym next to the new gym where her husband coached wrestling.

As Ratchford read a list of the wrestlers’ family names, including her husband’s three accusers, she acknowledged knowing them and said the families had been to the Goins’ home “at least on more than one occasion.”

Goins told the jury she sent out invitations to a Thanksgiving dinner after the wrestling season and about 30 to 40 people showed up, including two of the future accusers.

The Observer’s policy is not to publish the names of sexual abuse victims.

Alumni wrestlers stopped by the Goins residence to talk, she said.

Goins recalled that she didn’t accompany her husband’s wrestling team on overnight trips, but that he talked about the outings when he came home. She testified that he didn’t mention anything unusual going on.

Describing the wrestlers as “an affectionate group always cutting up and horseplaying,” Goins testified it wasn’t unusual to hear them say “I love you.”

“They were very tight,” she said. “They were brothers to each other.”

Goins was still being questioned by Ratchford when court recessed Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, Ratchford had continued to call witnesses who testified they never saw suspicious actions by Gary Scott Goins.

Ed Bedard testified that four of his sons wrestled at East Gaston under Goins’ direction.

Bedard testified that he told one of Goins’ accusers about the rumors he was hearing and asked if he should worry about his sons being on the wrestling team. He recalled the man said no.

About a year later, Bedard said the same rumors resurfaced and he asked the man “are you sure there’s nothing to worry about with my boys.”

Again, he said the answer was “no.”

Bedard testified that he’d never seen any inappropriate actions by Goins.

Bedard’s sons, Michael and Mark, testified that they traveled out of town with the wrestling team and shared hotel rooms with Goins. Both said they never heard or saw anything unusual.

Michael Bedard told the jury about talking to Goins on April 11, 2013 when he appeared “relaxed, as usual.” A day or so later Bedard testified that at school he heard that the wrestling coach “had been jumped on and bruised up.”

Earlier in the trial, one of the accusers testified that when Goins was being investigated by police in 2013, Goins wanted to die and asked the former wrestler to kill him.

The accuser described how he picked up Goins one stormy night in April, 2013, drove him to George Poston Park and choked the wrestling coach until he was unconscious. Next, the witness said he put a rope around Goins’ neck. The plan was to twist it tightly for eight minutes – the amount of time Goins had set on his watch timer, the witness testified.

When the witness thought he heard the watch go off, he ran away. Goins came to and walked back to East Gaston High School in the rain, the witness said.

On Thursday, Gaston County Police Sgt. Kathryn Williamson described how she’d been dispatched to what was described as a car accident at East Gaston High shortly after 1 a.m. on April 12, 2013.

It was there she met Goins, describing him as “wet, muddy, and disheveled.” Williamson said she spoke with him briefly before he was taken by ambulance to CaroMont Regional Medical Center.

Later, at the hospital, Williamson said Goins “had difficulty remembering. He wasn’t sure what happened.”

Under cross examination by Gaston County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hamlin, Williamson said the incident had “seemed a little odd.”

“Something had occurred,” she said. “But we were not sure what.”

The trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

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