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Mount Olive track coach charged with cyberstalking

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Amber Thompson said she received harassing text messages from her former track coach, Matt van Lierop. Amber Thompson said she received harassing text messages from her former track coach, Matt van Lierop.
MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. -

An athlete at Mount Olive College has filed charges against her former track coach, who she said drover her to quit the team.

Matt van Lierop is charged with misdemeanor cyberstalking after four of his former athletes claimed they were uncomfortable with how he treated members of the team.

Mount Olive College refused to comment on the charges, saying only, "Although we are unable to report on personnel issues, it should be known that we are aware of the allegations."

Van Lierop has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Sept. 18 update: Charges against Mount Olive coach dropped

Amber Thompson filed the charges against Van Lierop. She said the coach would send her harassing text messages after 9 p.m.

"He'd send me like 25 text messages within five minutes, just bashing my roommate," Thompson said. "Coach Matt asked the guys team which girls are sleeping with who and who they're going out with and when they're going out. Just really inappropriate things."

Thompson showed WNCN some of those texts.

"I texted him telling him my training wasn't going too well, that I had hurt my ankle and only ran the miles that day," Thompson said.

"He called me a retard."

She said Van Lierop then threatened her. "He told me he was going to have to kick my a**.

"I called him unprofessional, and he said, 'I don't know why I have to be professional.'"

Thompson said Van Lierop also pinned the teammates against each other.

"For two years straight, there was bickering because of all this mess he put in everybody's head," she explained.

She added, "Other girls are getting affected and they're afraid to step up. They're afraid to lose their scholarship and afraid of what's going to happen."

Thompson quit the team, but according to email correspondence, worked out a deal with the college. She said the president allocated other college funds equivalent to her athletic scholarship. The president said it's important for her to get receive a degree and this should remove her concerns.

According to N.C. General Statues against cyberstalking, it is unlawful for a person to: "Use in electronic mail or electronic communication any words or language threatening to inflict bodily harm to any person..."

Van Lierop will make a court appearance at the Goldsboro Courthouse on Sept. 18.

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