Former wrestling coach on trial PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 09:33
Joseph Bergman, left, in court with his attorneys. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Is the former wrestling coach guilty of sexual battery or is he the victim of what his attorney called "a little white lie?"
On Monday, jurors began hearing testimony to answer that question as the state's case against Joseph Bergman Jr. began in what has been scheduled for a four-day trial.
Bergman, age 29, of Genoa, and a former Genoa wrestling coach, is accused of having sexual relations with a 17-year-old female student in the back seat of his vehicle on March 30, 2012. The incident is said to have occurred in the parking lot in front of the movie theaters at Levis Commons in Perrysburg.
Heather Baker, an assistant Wood County prosecutor, outlined for the jurors what she said the testimony will reveal about the night in question.
She said that the student was a statistician for the wrestling team and that is how she met the defendant. They allegedly had corresponded previously, and on the night in question, she corresponded by text using one of her friend's cell phones.
Baker admitted to the jurors there were some inconsistencies in what the student told the initial investigators from Ottawa County when her mother was present, and what she told officials from Perrysburg Township when her mother was not in earshot.
She also told jurors about text messages sent between the student and Bergman regarding what she told investigators and what he should tell them so stories would be consistent.
Defense attorney Stevin Groth told the jurors that his client has had to "live for more than a year under these false allegations."
He used slides to show how the "little white lie" could not have occurred and cited several "L"s to explain what he said the jurors will learn during the trial.
Among those was logistics, lies and a lack of investigation. He showed a depiction of the parking lot showing that his client's car was in the front row and in plain site in a crowded parking lot for a popular movie with numerous people required to pass right by the car.
He also said that testimony would show that Bergman, a 10-year military veteran, had all his gear packed into that back seat, making it impossible for the allegations to be true.
Bergman has served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Groth also said the lack of investigation, was exemplified as the entire investigation was done in one day. He said it was all a lie and made the student very popular in school.
Bergman's sexual battery charge is a third-degree felony and his case is being heard by Judge Robert Pollex.

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