Witness in trial of former wrestling coach describes sex acts at school and other locations

A witness in the trial of a former Gaston County wrestling coach on Wednesday described how the two of them had sex at such places as the coach’s home and at the high school.

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

On Wednesday, the former team member, now 27, told the jury he first met Goins in the eighth grade and developed a close relationship with him at East Gaston. Goins picked him up at home and they would go out to eat, with the coach paying, the witness said.

He’s the third man to testify during Goins’ trial that he had been sexually abused by the wrestling coach.

In his early teens, the witness said he began taking part in what Goins called “mental training,” motivational sessions that would supposedly result in improved wrestling skills.

The witness said Goins explained that Olympic wrestlers did mental training and “when you want to be a great wrestler and the coach says that’s what Olympians do, you want to do it.”

The first session set the pattern for the many that followed, the witness said. In portraying different scenarios, he said, Goins asked him to visualize a race.

“He stuck his finger out and told me to grab it,” the witness said. “He told me to grab it and imagine I was going fast.”

The witness grabbed the finger, but the next time said he grabbed Goins’ penis.

Subsequent mental training sessions took place after wrestling practice at East Gaston High in the football coach’s office, Goins’ classroom, or the wrestling coach’s office, the witness said. At the time, he said, Goins was assistant football coach and had keys to the school.

The witness recalled how the sessions progressed to oral sex between himself and Goins. At times, it took place in the high school computer room or Goins’ home when his wife wasn’t there, the witness said.

Asked by Gaston County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hamlin whether anyone questioned his apparent close relationship with the coach, the witness said, “My father said he did, but I don’t remember.”

“My parents knew I loved wrestling and that he (Goins) was going to help me achieve my goal,” the witness said.

He said his parents trusted Goins.

After Goins and the witness had performed oral sex on each other, they would “go back like nothing ever happened,” the witness said.

Many sexual encounters occurred on tournament trips out of town, the witness said.

He testified that other wrestlers didn’t like him, and he felt a sense of isolation. “Coach was basically the only friend I had,” he told the jurors.

In time, oral sex progressed to anal sex, the witness recalled. Those encounters occurred in such places as Goins’ home and the high school, he said.

The witness told the jurors that on a wrestling trip to Cleveland, Ohio, the anal sex “happened every single day.”

After the witness graduated from high school, the sexual encounters stopped, but the witness said he continued to have a close relationship with Goins “all the way up to a year ago.”

The witness testified he’d never told anybody about what had happened to him until 2010 when he mentioned a few details to someone he knew. He recalled that person said, “I’ll bet you’re not the only one.” The witness said that person told somebody else about the sexual abuse, who then told police.

When contacted by a detective, the witness said, he dodged the issue. He was still in communication with Goins, who knew the witnesses had talked to police. At one point, the witness said, he considered suicide.

Last year, when talking to another former member of the East Gaston wrestling team, the witness said he learned about others who’d been allegedly victimized by Goins.

“That’s when it goes off in the brain – oh, wow, it’s happened to others,” the witness said. “I felt somewhat responsible for that.”

The witness said he was finally able to come out.

“I owed it to everybody else to tell the truth about what happened to me,” he told the jurors.