GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – Scott Goins, the former East Gaston High wrestling coach, was found guilty Tuesday of multiple child sex charges.
In the 4 o'clock hour Tuesday afternoon, the jury returned the verdict convicting Goins on most of the 20 charges filed against him.
The defense asked the judge to not follow the state's recommended sentence of 40 years.
Goins was sentenced to serve a minimum of 34 years, 10 months in prison, with a maximum of 44 years.
Closing arguments in the case were heard Monday.The defense pointed to no direct eyewitnesses in the state's case and says the allegations never happened. The state countered saying the accusers have nothing to gain except justice in coming forward.
"No pictures, no eyewitnesses, no one walked in, no one saw anything in the bed, no one heard anything in the bed," said Defense Attorney Brent Ratchford.
Richford directed the jury to a lack of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony and said the state's case was mostly founded on hazing, not sexual abuse.
"We spent more than half the trial talking about things that didn't even happen to three people," said Ratchford.
Ratchford reminded the jury of family involvement in the wrestling program and questioned why no one came forward before now. The defense finished in a similar fashion to how it opened.
"Is it shock and awe? Absolutely. Sound bad? Absolutely. Is it proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Scott Goins molested three people and no one ever saw it, heard it, or witnessed it," said Ratchford.
The state tried to prove the strategy of the defense was to distract the jury instead of answering the allegations.
"For a week and a half they had people talk about the room layout, the keys, wrestler thanksgiving, he was a good coach, he was a hard coach, none of that matters. It doesn't show and it doesn't negate what the defendant did behind closed doors," said Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hamlin.
Hamlin reminded the jury of testimony that Goins' wife was at times unaware wrestlers were at their duplex with Goins.
"Abuse happens in families and people don't know," said Hamlin.
In responding to the defense closing, Hamlin tried to prove the accusers have nothing to gain in coming forward except embarrassment.
"All they can say is oh they just made this up, for what? For what? There's no benefit here they are not being paid to come up here and testify," said Hamlin.
Judge Jesse Caldwell closed the day by explaining to the jury the law surrounding the charges.