Ralph Wager Catawba College soccer molestation sex abuse charges - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Former soccer coach bonds out of jail after new molestation charges

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A Charlotte man, and former college soccer coach, has bonded out of jail, again, after he was slapped with new charges of indecent liberties with a minor.

Ralph Wager turned himself in Thursday morning around 10:45 a.m.  to the Rowan County magistrate's office, where he was served with warrants on three counts of felony indecent liberties with a child.

Investigators told WBTV that all three new charges involve a 13-year-old male victim from 1990.

Wager bonded out of the Rowan County jail by Thursday evening on a $150,000 bond for the three new charges. No court date has been set.

The 69-year-old former Catawba College soccer coach has been accused of molesting a young boy during a sports camp at Catawba in the late 1980's. He was initially held on a $1,000,000 bond, which was later reduced to $400,000 in Rowan County Superior Court.

During that bond hearing in August, new allegations surfaced against Wager.  Assistant District Attorney Seth Banks told Judge David Lee about another man who said Wager touched him inappropriately in 1990 at the Catawba campus.

Wager's lawyer, Darrin Jordan, argued that at the time Wager was practicing "Chinese healing arts" to help student athletes who had injuries.

"In August we learned from media accounts that the District Attorney's Office was investigating additional allegations of inappropriate sexual contact against a minor on campus by Ralph Wager over twenty years ago," Catawba College President Brien Lewis said in a statement on Thursday. "Today we learned from media reports that new charges were brought against Wager, who was a soccer coach at the College from 1983-1990."

"As I have stated since first learning of the initial charges against Wager, the behavior alleged in this case is intolerable," he continued. "Catawba College continues to express its concern for those affected by Wager's alleged actions."

It was also mentioned during the hearing that members of families who had felt uncomfortable with Wager's interaction with students in the late 1980's met with the Catawba College administration to voice their concerns.

"More than 20 years have passed since the allegations occurred and understandably much at the College has changed and many employees from that time no longer work at the College or have passed away.  To help the College determine what it did at that time, we ordered an independent investigation in July that remains underway," Lewis told WBTV.

"Our attorneys with professional outside investigators have interviewed persons including current and former employees to determine what the College knew about Wager's alleged actions when he was an employee, when did it know it, and what did it do about it. The investigation by the College has steered clear of inhibiting the law enforcement investigation and thus is not complete."

As a part of Wager's release in August, he was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, which held him to within 50 yards of his home in the Steele Creek area of Charlotte.

The investigation began in July when the first alleged victim came forward after searching for Wager online and finding that he still coached children.

Prosecutor Seth Banks told the court that the alleged victim, 10 years old at the time, met Wager while the child was attending a swim camp that regularly used the pool at Catawba College. 

Banks said that Wager reached out to the boy upon learning the boy's mother was stricken with breast cancer.  Banks also stated that the mother became aware of the inappropriate nature of the relationship and kept her son away from Wager.

Wager left Catawba in 1990.  His lawyer said that Wager's doctor had recommend that he leave the coaching position due to undisclosed health problems. 

He then moved to Charlotte in the Steele Creek area where he was running soccer camps until his arrest this summer.

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