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Has the dust settled at Wilson High School?

    Two Wilson High School baseball coaches have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child following an incident of alleged sexual abuse on a school bus.

   Varsity coach Thomas J. Baia and junior varsity coach William M. Atlas were released on their own recognizance and issued appearance tickets to return to Town Court on the misdemeanor charge May 8.

   Baia, 40, has coached the varsity team for seven years and is a Wilson Middle School math teacher.

   Atlas, 35, is a physical education teacher at Thomas Mark Elementary School.

   Both could face up to a year in jail if convicted.

   "It was more of what they didn't do than what they did do," said State Police Lt. Richard S. Allen.

   Their arrests came in the wake of three members of the varsity baseball team being charged last Friday with sexually abusing at least two members of the junior varsity team April 17, as the teams were headed back to Wilson from a pair of games in Niagara Falls.

   The three varsity players who were arrested each were charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child under the age of 17, a misdemeanor, and felony third-degree aggravated sexual abuse. The felony charge accused them of forcing a foreign object into a private body opening.

   Baia and Atlas, who were suspended from their coaching duties on Monday, were among at least three adults on the bus.

   The investigation is continuing, and more charges could be coming, police said.

   The district learned about the arrests from police at the end of the school day on Tuesday, police said.

   "Once we received information from the police department, we moved immediately to suspend these teachers from the classroom," said Superintendent Michael S. Wendt.

   It is required by law to suspend the teachers with pay, Wendt said.

   What do you think about the way these events have unfolded?

   Did the school take appropriate action regarding the coaches?

   What should happen to them?

  --- Aaron Besecker


Crime & Courts
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