CHARLESTON — After hearing that an investigation resulted in multiple accounts of forced sexual activity, unwanted contact and more, a judge said a high bond was needed for a youth basketball program coach accused of sex offenses with former players.
However, factors such as Barry S. Wolfe's lack of a criminal record led the judge to agree to reduce his bond Thursday, though several restrictions will be in place.
Coles County Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien set Wolfe's bond at $2 million, lowering it from $5.5 million.
No-contact provisions are in place and Wolfe must be on electronically monitored home confinement if he does post bond, O'Brien ordered.
Wolfe, 53, of Martinsville is charged in Coles County with multiple offenses alleging sexual activity with two teenage girls on several occasions between March 2013 and September 2015.
He was a coach and developer of the Central Illinois Storm, an area American Athletic Union basketball program for girls age 17 and younger in Illinois and Indiana.
During Thursday's court hearing, defense attorney Ed Piraino filed a bond reduction motion. In opposing the motion, State's Attorney Brian Bower called on police testimony indicating Wolfe threatened players about their participation in the program.
Lt. Sam Gaines of the Mattoon Police Department said the girls said Wolfe told them "I am your way to college" and the sexual conduct was part of showing their loyalty to him.
Gaines said one former player of Wolfe's came forward in October out of fear that Wolfe was going to visit her at the college she attended. She and others said Wolfe ignored repeated requests to not contact them, he said.
The accounts from the two former players listed in the charges against Wolfe and two others police interviewed were largely consistent, according to Gaines' testimony.
The sexual activity sometimes took place in Coles County but also in "numerous other locations," Gaines said.
The former players said when they were traveling for games, Wolfe would call them to his hotel room, have them disrobe then force them into sex acts, he said. They included oral sex and digital penetration, he added.
At least one instance took place at a player's home while her parents were away, and one of them said he once entered her home unannounced, Gaines related.
Gaines also said Mattoon police interviewed Wolfe shortly before his arrest in October and he admitted to the sexual conduct with the girls. He said Wolfe's account of what occurred was consistent with what the former players provided.
Piraino didn't present any evidence on his motion but said Wolfe's bond was "way over the human possibility of posting."
He said the former players named in the charges are now in college and "no longer anywhere near here" so that and the no-contact provisions should protect them.
Piraino also noted Wolfe's lack of a criminal record and asked O'Brien to set the bond at a $5,000 to $10,000 level.
In response, Bower said the "magnitude" of the sentence Wolfe faces if convicted makes him a flight risk.
The charges against Wolfe include criminal sexual assault, which requires a prison sentence of four to 15 years with a conviction. Bower said the sentence for each of those 17 counts for which Wolfe is convicted would have to be added together.
Bower also said the investigation, which continues, showed a "pattern of grooming" and Wolfe's abusing his position over a "long duration."
The other charges against Wolfe are multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which can result in a prison sentence of three to seven years or up to four years of probation with a conviction.
O'Brien scheduled Wolfe's next court hearing for Feb. 5.