Former C-R coach found innocent
By David Avitabile
A Town of Richmondville jury deliberated for 20 minutes before finding former Cobleskill-Richmondville volunteer assistant girls’ basketball Coach Greg Morra not guilty of charges of sex abuse during a practice in November 2006.
After two days of testimony, the six-person jury found Mr. Morra, 52, not guilty of third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors. The court had already dismissed a charge of forcible touching.
Mr. Morra, a Loudonville dentist, was accused of touching a 16-year-old girl during a Sunday afternoon practice on November 12, 2006, said Schoharie County District attorney James Sacket.
The alleged victim and her friend both testified but there were different accounts on what happened that day.
The defense, Mr. Sacket said, presented “a ton of” character witnesses on Mr. Morra’s behalf.
These types of charges are very hard to prove in a trial, said Mr. Sacket, who gave the allegedly victim a lot of credit for testifying.
The charges, he added, “are difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
He said he felt the case was strong with corroborating evidence but “sometimes for a jury, it’s not enough.”
Today’s juries, he said, “want to see physical evidence” that corroborates testimony.
The alleged victim, now a college freshman, wanted to testify, Mr. Sacket said.
“Despite overwhelming odds, the victim still wanted her day in court,” he said.
In this type of trial, “all the tables are turned on the victim. She felt it was important that she told her side of the story.”
In these types of cases, Mr. Sacket said, the “victim goes on trial.”
He said that though he did not agree with the jury’s decision, he did respect it.
Noting that deliberation only took about 20 minutes, he said jury members must have felt very strongly about their feelings.
The trial began with testimony last Monday and Tuesday.
Mr. Morra was arrested in January 2007 on charges of two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in two alleged incidents in November 2006.
He resigned as volunteer assistant coach in November 2006.