Charges lead to wrestling coach’s dismissal

Ryan+Blazier+is+being+charged+with+rape+and+sexual+assault.

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Ryan Blazier is being charged with rape and sexual assault.

By Julian Bartlebaugh, Bellwood-Antis High School

Pennsylvania State police on Thursday arrested Bellwood-Antis junior high wrestling coach Ryan Blazier and charged him with rape and sexual assault, among a slew of other charges

Police allege the 39-yer old Blazier, a 1998 Bellwood-Antis graduate, sexually abused a girl from the ages of 3 to 8 years old. He is also accused of assaulting two members of the junior high wrestling team while on school grounds.

The investigation into the abuse of the alleged female victim began in December 2019. In the course of the initial rape accusation, state police learned that Blazier had sexual contact with a second and then a third male wrestler on Bellwood-Antis School property.

B-A officials released a statement on the charges Friday.

“The Bellwood-Antis School District is truly saddened, devastated, and upset to learn the details of the incident that led to the arrest of Ryan Blazier,” the statement from the Office of the Superintendent read.  “When we became aware of the situation, we notified all appropriate agencies and have continued to fully cooperate with the Blair County Children, Youth, and Families, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the District Attorney’s office.  We are asking that anyone with any information concerning this case, to please contact the Pennsylvania State Police in Hollidaysburg, at (814)696-6100.  Ultimately, our goal is the health, safety and welfare of all of our students and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure their safety.”

The statement concluded by saying that any students who show signs of duress, should allowed to seek counseling at the Guidance Office.

Blazier faces two felony counts each of child rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, and one count each of felony aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault and corruption of minors, along with three counts of felony institutional sexual assault. He is also charged with two misdemeanor indecent assault counts.

In 2017, the BA Blueprint reported that coaching changes were coming for the wrestling program. Ron Wilson and junior high head coach Rich Davinsizer both resigned from their positions. Wilson was the program’s only coach to produce 100 career wins.

Mr. Tim Andrekovich, the seventh grade geography teacher and the eighth grade history teacher in the middle school, took over as the varsity head coach.

Blazier, the junior high team’s new head coach, told the BluePrint he was very excited to get the season started.

Blazier coached for 3 years at BA at the junior high level.

Blazier is being held in Blair County Prison with bail set at $750,000.

State police are still investigating to determine if any more children were involved.

Students at B-A spotted state police entering the building during lunch periods. Around 12 p.m. on Thursday officers were seen entering the district office exterior entrance door. Some students reported feeling concern when spotting the officers, like senior Emilie Leidig.

“Usually you will occasionally see the B-A police come into the school and walk around, but never the State Police. Immediately you could sense it was something big when everyone reacted to them. You don’t have State Police show up for no reason,” she said. “It all makes sense now.”

This story was originally published on The BluePrint on February 28, 2020.