Wolfe to be tried on earliest charges first, prosecution says

College Sports

CHARLESTON — The first charges against Barry S. Wolfe will also be the first ones he faces at trial.

The prosecutor in the case against the former youth girls basketball coach accused of sex acts with players indicated that in court Thursday.

Coles County State’s Attorney Brian Bower said the first of the two cases against Wolfe to be tried is the one accusing him of sex acts with one of his players in Mattoon during 2014 and 2015 when the girl was 15 and 16 years old.

Additional charges alleging sex acts with a second former player were filed about a week later, and there are indications that other players made similar claims about sexual conduct by Wolfe.

The alleged sex acts took place while Wolfe was a coach for a team in an area American Athletic Union basketball program he founded, which was for girls age 17 and younger in Illinois and Indiana.

In court Thursday, Bower noted that Wolfe already has a June 19 trial date in place and said that meant the prosecution had to choose which of the two cases to try first.

Both Bower and defense attorney Ed Piraino indicated they plan to file motions in advance of the trial. Circuit Judge Brien O’Brien then set a May 21 deadline for the motions and scheduled a hearing for them on June 1.

Wolfe appeared at the hearing in jail custody and remains jailed with his bond set a level that would require $200,000 to be posted for release.

The charges against him include criminal sexual assault, which requires a prison sentence of four to 15 years with a conviction.

According to Bower, the sentence for each of those 17 counts for which Wolfe is convicted would have to be added together.

The other charges against Wolfe are multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which can result in a prison sentence of three to seven years or up to four years of probation with a conviction.

According to police testimony at an earlier hearing, the investigation showed that most of the sexual activity took place in Coles County but also in other locations.

Some former players said when they were traveling for games, Wolfe would call them to his hotel room, have them disrobe, then force them into sex acts, the police account indicated.

There was also testimony about instances of unwanted contact with the players on Wolfe’s part. That included an incident at a player’s home while her parents were away, and another when he entered a girl’s home unannounced.

The investigation began after one former player of Wolfe’s came forward in October out of fear that Wolfe was going to visit her at the college she attended, according to the testimony.

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