Former athletic director accused of sex abuse takes stand - WNEM TV 5

Former athletic director accused of sex abuse takes stand

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The former athletic director of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, charged with sexually assaulting a family member, has taken the stand in his own defense.

Gary Moreland took the stand Wednesday.

His own daughter also testified in his defense, but prosecutors say Moreland had assaulted the victim for years.

For most of his two-hour long testimony, Gary Moreland denied the abuse and the accusation it went on for 15 years.

The defense attorney called Moreland's daughter, Kelly Ketchum, to the stand in hopes that jurors would believe her. Ketchum denied ever being molested by her father.

That's why Ketchum says she was surprised when several cousins confronted her and her dad during a 2009 family meeting.

"It certainly wasn't a family reunion, and it was a very hostile, walking in, and it was hostile atmosphere," said Ketchum.

Ketchum testified that the meeting was arranged so a cousin could accuse Moreland of sexually abusing his own great niece.

"I didn't understand why these allegations were being taken seriously when the niece had made allegations prior to this about another family member. Those weren't taken seriously," said Ketchum.

But prosecutors were able to damage the defense case. Moreland did admit, on the stand, to one inappropriate instance with the same great niece he's on trial for abusing.

But he only took some responsibility.

"She came right up and put her arms around me, held me tight, kissed me on the cheek, and whispered in my ear, 'I'm not wearing any underwear.' ... My left hand came up, and I touched her right breast," said Moreland.

Moreland is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct against someone under 13 years old and five counts of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct.

Moreland is facing a maximum of life in prison if jurors convict him on the most serious charge of first degree criminal sexual conduct.

WNEM will continue to follow this trial and will provide updates as new information is learned.

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