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Bond hearing reveals new allegations against coach

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Rowan County prosecutors say Catawba College officials were made aware in the 1980s of allegations against former soccer coach Ralph Wager, who was charged last week with molesting a child.
And another person has stepped forward, this one with accusations going back to Wager’s days in New York, the prosecution revealed during a bond hearing this morning in Rowan County District Court.
Assistant District Attorney Seth Banks said that, after the 1980s victim’s mother complained to college officials, Catawba restricted Wager’s access to the college’s pool in 1987.
Wager stopped coaching in 1989 and left the college in 1990.
The assistant district attorney did not say who or how many people at the college knew about the alleged incident.
The victim came forward in May of this year, accusing Wager of molesting him as a child on multiple occasions from 1987 to 1989.
According to Banks, the victim told investigators with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office that his mother had become aware of the abuse at the time and contacted the college.
The victim was involved in swimming and used the college’s pool facilities.
The 1980s victim told authorities his mother was dying of cancer and had allowed Wager to watch over him and a sibling, Banks said.
Contact was cut off once the mother contacted the college.
After the mother died, the father allowed Wager back into the family’s life and the alleged abuse continued, according to the victim’s statements to law enforcement.
Since Wager’s arrest, Banks said, another alleged victim has come forward, with claims Wager abused him in the 1960s while he was a student athlete in Rochester, N.Y., where Wager was a coach. No charges have been issued in connection with those allegations.
Banks told the court that, in a recent phone conversation that was taped in the detention center, Wager alluded to his intent to head back to New York after being released.
Wager’s attorney, Darrin Jordan of Salisbury, sought a bond reduction to $100,000. Instead, Judge Kevin Eddinger increased the bond from $500,000 to $1 million.
See more details in Thursday’s Post.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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