COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A former high school basketball coach on trial on allegations of hitting players in the groin with basketballs, a clipboard and other objects took the stand Monday and called himself a fun-loving coach and that some players were lying.
Gregory Lynn Burr, 29, is charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and other counts. He is accused of hitting nine 14- to 16-year-old boys during the 2005-06 season at Monument Academy, a charter school in the Lewis-Palmer district.
Burr, smiling and laughing as he recalled some of the incidents, recalled four incidents in which he said he hit players in the groin accidentally.
In one instance, he passed a basketball that hit a student in the groin. Burr said he wasn't looking when he passed the ball and that he laughed, adding that he felt bad.
He described himself as a coach-turned-friend who didn't instigate horseplay, but didn't do much to stop it, either. He also described how a player stuck a piece of candy down his pants then allowed another player to eat it, unknowingly.
"I didn't know how to react when it did happen," he said. "I laughed ... it was just wrong."
Asked why his story differed from the students' Burr answered: "There's some lying going on" and said he wished he knew the reasons.
District Judge David Miller has told jurors Burr is accused of assaulting the students for abuse, not sexual gratification.
Prosecutor Nan Scranton has said that one boy had to have surgery after he was hit several times in the groin.
A former player testified that a teammate writhed in agony for 15 minutes after Burr threw a tennis ball that struck him in the groin.
Monument Academy officials have said he no longer works at the school.