A former head wrestling coach of Mount Saint Joseph High School who was the only person indicted in the Maryland attorney general’s investigation into child sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Archdiocese of Baltimore is set to stand trial this week on charges that he groomed and assaulted a teen.
Neil Adleberg, 75, of Reisterstown, who prosecutors said served as the head wrestling coach in the 1970s and returned as an assistant wrestling coach for the 2014-15 season, is charged with six counts, including sexual abuse of a minor.
Adleberg appeared Tuesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court and opted for a bench trial. That means Circuit Judge Dennis M. Robinson Jr. will determine whether he is guilty of the charges in the case.
In 2013, Adleberg, then 65, met a 17-year-old who was a senior and member of the wrestling team at Perry Hall High School during a tournament in Delaware, prosecutors reported.
Adleberg maintained a “coach-emeritus type relationship” with the wrestling team at Mount Saint Joseph High School, prosecutors claimed, and was involved in promoting local and national tournaments. He held a position of “significant influence within the wrestling community.”
Next, Adleberg took an “increasingly active interest” in the teen, prosecutors asserted, and started driving him to wrestling practices at Mount Saint Joseph High School. During the next few months, Adleberg took steps including encouraging the teen to change the address on his driver’s license, adding him to the same cellphone plan and helping with college admissions paperwork, prosecutors alleged.
Meanwhile, Adleberg started making sexual comments, prosecutors claim, and casually touching the teen in “inappropriate areas.” Later, at his home, Adleberg trapped the child in a closet in the basement and sexually assaulted him, prosecutors alleged.
The sexual abuse, prosecutors assert, continued after he turned 18.
Adleberg is expected to testify in his own defense and call witnesses to speak about his character and reputation, according to court documents.
The Maryland Office of the Attorney General in April released a 456-page report that detailed allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Adleberg is not mentioned in the document.
Prosecutors reported that they were not seeking any additional indictments or charges as a result of the investigation. But Attorney General Anthony Brown previously told reporters that he never rules anything out, adding that it’s hard to predict what information may become available.
Joe Murtha is representing Adleberg. Assistant Attorneys General Megan Greene and Nancy Frigo are prosecuting the case.
The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in the Baltimore County Courts Building.