Second accuser recounts assaults
Ex-coach Blazier on trial for alleged child sexual abuse
HOLLIDAYSBURG — The second teenager to testify in Ryan L. Blazier’s jury trial accused the former wrestling coach of sexually assaulting him several times before January 2020, when he ended the assaults by intentionally injuring his wrist during a wrestling match.
“I knew I could break something,” the youth, now 15, told the jury Wednesday as he demonstrated how he extended his arm and spread his fingers to sustain the injury. “I wanted to get away from wrestling.”
A few weeks before the injury, the youth said Blazier sexually assaulted him by pushing his face and the front of his body against the wall of the small wrestling room, then inserting something hard in his butt that generated sharp pain for a couple of days.
The youth also said that he was assaulted several times in that room, where Blazier would regularly grab and squeeze his genitals when they were wrestling.
The youth’s mother told the jury on Wednesday that in December 2020, her son came home from a wrestling practice with half his face swollen and bruised.
The youth said he lied to his mother and told her the injuries were sustained while wrestling with another student.
It was Blazier, the youth told the jurors on Wednesday, who punched him in the face while warning him to keep quiet.
“He told me not to tell anyone or he would come after me,” the youth said.
Blazier, who has maintained his innocence since his arrest, is on trial this week in Blair County Court where he is challenging the sexual assault and related charges state police at Hollidaysburg filed in February 2020.
In court today, defense attorney Thomas M. Dickey will have a chance to call witnesses in Blazier’s defense, after District Attorney Pete Weeks and First Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith present their remaining witnesses.
Closing arguments are expected to be scheduled for Friday, when the case will be turned over to the jury for deliberations on charges that include institutional sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors and witness intimidation.
State police at Hollidaysburg filed those charges based on an investigation of allegations from the youth who testified Wednesday and by a youth, now 16 years old, who testified Tuesday.
The 16-year-old youth said in spring 2019 when he was 13 years old, Blazier sexually assaulted him, also in the small wrestling room, by putting his fingers into his body while they were wrestling. The youth said he yelled in response, which drew the attention of a school janitor who came to the room.
“I thought somebody got hurt,” janitor Thomas Gority told the jury while testifying Wednesday. Gority said he went directly to the wrestling room and used his keys to unlock the door and gain access.
Upon entering, he saw Blazier and the youth, with the youth on his knees and forearms and his face toward the wall.
“I said: ‘What the hell is going on?'” Gority recalled.
He said Blazier responded: “I’m trying to man him up.”
Gority said he approached the youth to ask him if he was OK and recalled the youth answering with a whimper. He also remembered the boy making a quick exit.
“He was gone,” Gority said. “I went out and looked for him and he was gone.”
Gority said he told his fellow custodians what happened and he advised three school administrators too.
Timothy Andrekovich, a longtime wrestling coach for the school district, said he didn’t recall Gority coming to him with a complaint about Blazier.
Gority said that when he complained to Andrekovich, he dismissed his complaint telling him: “Good coaches are hard to find.”
“I’ve said that to a lot of people,” Andrekovich said.
Dickey also asked Andrekovich about wrestling techniques and maneuvers leading to unintentional grabbing in the groin and between the legs.
“It happens,” Andrekovich testified.
“To get grabbed between the legs?” Dickey asked.
“Yes, I’ve been grabbed and it hurts,” Andrekovich said.
Weeks later asked Andrekovich for his reaction if he were to see an adult wrestling coach grabbing the genitals of a student wrestler.
“It’s definitely inappropriate,” Andrekovich said.
Andrekovich also told the jury that wrestling can generate facial injuries that would include black eyes, brush burns, bloody noses and busted lips.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.