A wrestling coach for Bellwood-Antis Middle School has been arrested and fired for allegedly sexually abusing two teen wrestlers. 39-year-old Ryan Blazier is also accused of sexually assaulting a young girl who told police that he started raping her when she was 3 years old and continued until she was 8.
Blazier faces several felony charges, including multiple counts of rape of a child, aggravated indecent assault, and intercourse/sexual contact with a student.
State police began investigating Blazier in December 2019 after Children and Youth Services contacted troopers to report the alleged abuse of the young girl.
In early February, state troopers received a call from a Bellwood-Antis Middle School wrestler’s stepmother, who said she believed Blazier had sexually abused her stepson in a wrestling room on school grounds. This woman told police that there were rumors that a janitor had walked into the wrestling room while the sexual assault was happening.
Troopers interviewed that janitor on February 5. He reportedly told them that he noticed Blazier would “single out certain boys for special training in the back room of the gym,” according to the criminal complaint. He also told them of an incident from March or April of 2019, when he heard a scream from the wrestling room.
The janitor told troopers that he went to the boys’ locker room and unlocked the door to find Blazier alone with the student in the back room. He reportedly asked the teen if he was okay, but the boy did not answer or make eye contact.
Troopers asked the janitor if he ever reported what he saw to anyone else at the school, and he said he told at least three Bellwood-Antis School District officials about it.
State police spoke with that student on February 10, who told them that Blazier sexually assaulted him in that room and stopped when he heard the janitor at the door. He also accused Blazier of threatening to hurt his family if he told anyone.
A third alleged victim was interviewed by state police on February 21 and this victim said that Blazier would grab wrestlers’ testicles. This student told troopers that Blazier inappropriately grabbed him, the second victim, and a third victim.
Police are continuing to investigate and believe there could be more victims. Anyone with related information has been asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 814-696-6100.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents sex abuse victims and their families in civil lawsuits. Brian has offered to weigh in with some of his thoughts on the legal rights of those who have been sexually abused by coaches and other school employees:
In schools and other environments where adults are working with children, it’s extremely important to make sure those children are safe. Tragically, sexual predators often seek out positions in education and similar fields, where they exploit their positions of trust to commit heinous crimes against children. Reports of coaches, teachers, and other school employees sexually abusing students regularly make headlines throughout the country.
When a school sports coach is accused of sexually abusing students, a criminal investigation into those allegations is crucial. But it’s also extremely important to investigate the school and determine whether school officials were negligent in a way that allowed the abuse to occur. For example, a school district could be considered negligent if previous complaints of sexual misconduct regarding the accused coach had gone unreported or uninvestigated.
In cases of coach sexual abuse that involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school district.
If you or your child has been sexually abused by a school coach or another school staff member, you can learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation with one of our experienced sex abuse victims lawyers.