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Former youth coach from Duluth seeks to have charges dropped | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

86040Published March 08, 2013, 12:00 AM

Former youth coach from Duluth seeks to have charges dropped

A former Duluth youth basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting two preteen girls was in court Thursday as his attorney challenged whether there is sufficient evidence to maintain charges against him.

By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune

A former Duluth youth basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting two preteen girls was in court Thursday as his attorney challenged whether there is sufficient evidence to maintain charges against him.

Wendell Anthony Greene, 36, is charged in State District Court in Duluth with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which included sexual penetration, and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Defense attorney Thomas Skare is challenging the gathering of evidence — the statements of the alleged victims — against his client, which included videotaped interviews the two girls gave at First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center in Duluth.

Skare called Duluth police investigators Ryan Temple and Lisa Mickus to testify. Both work in their department’s sex crimes, abuse, neglect and domestic violence unit. The investigators explained portions of the First Witness interviewing process.

Temple testified that children who report abuse are told that it’s OK to say “I don’t know” when asked a question. He said they are also told that if they don’t understand a question to tell the interviewer and that if they are asked a similar question several times it’s not to get a different answer but to clarify what they are trying to say.

During their First Witness interviews, one of the girls said Greene used to be her basketball coach. Both girls said Greene molested them.

If found guilty, Greene — who has zero criminal history points — faces a guideline sentence of 12 years in prison.

When interviewed by police, Greene denied the specific acts the girls alleged, but said he apologized if any of his actions toward the girls was inappropriate. He was unable to explain why the victims would make such accusations.

Greene has been ordered to have no contact with anyone younger than 18.

Judge Mark Munger told Skare and St. Louis County prosecutor Rebekka Stumme that he would review the videotapes and other evidence and soon issue a ruling on whether there is sufficient probable cause to maintain the charges.

According to his Facebook page, Greene coached and refereed in the Salvation Army Rookie Basketball Association from 2008 through last season. He wrote that he also coached seventh-grade East girls in 2007-08, sixth-grade Hermantown girls in 2009 and Duluth Amateur Youth Basketball Association 2010-12.

Former youth coach from Duluth seeks to have charges dropped | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota.

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