Sexual assault victims sue former wrestling coach, Gaston County school board

North Carolina

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Three former Gaston County students abused by their former wrestling coach nearly 20 years ago are now suing the school district.

“The abuse they endured was horrific and not something we can talk about on G-rated television,” said Attorney Lisa Lanier, who represents the three men.

In 2014, a jury found Scott Goins guilty of sexually abusing the three boys between the years of 1998 – 2004. At the time of the crimes, Goins was the wrestling coach at East Gaston High School and a teacher.

Six years after the criminal trial, the pain is still very real for these three victims according to Lanier. Under the SAFE Child Act that Governor Roy Cooper signed into law in 2019, Lanier was able to file the lawsuit on behalf of her clients. The bill modernizes sexual abuse laws and one of the provisions allowed for a revival period for lawsuits.

“They are left with all sorts of mental and emotional issues including post-traumatic stress disorder and they struggle with depression and anxiety,” added Lanier.

With the passing of the law, Lanier expects more victims to come forward and more lawsuits could be filed.

“These victims we can’t un-ring the bell and can’t make them whole. Civil suits come down to monetary damages that can compensate them for loss of innocence and childhood and for all of the mental anguish they have gone through as a result,” Lanier said.

Lanier expects attorneys for the school board to file an answer by the end of January.

A spokesperson for Gaston County Schools says the district does not comment on pending litigation.

Goins is serving a 34-year sentence in prison.

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