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Gymnastics Coach’s Alleged Victim: ‘Emotional, Personal, Nasty’

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BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Testimony is underway in the trial of a former Colorado gymnastics coach accused of sexually assaulting teenagers.

Police arrested Robert Edward Barke of Broomfield last year. Prosecutors say he assaulted two boys from 2004 to 2007. The victims were 12 and 14 when the alleged abuse started.

Robert Edward Barke outside of court on Tuesdasy (credit: CBS)

Robert Edward Barke outside of court on Tuesdasy (credit: CBS)

The victims both took that stand on Tuesday and testified against their former coach who they once called their friend.

Barke was coaching at Xtreme Altitude Gymnastics in Broomfield. At the time he was arrested he’d gone to work at a gymnastics school in Texas but was let go from the position when officials there learned about the investigation.

“Emotional, personal, nasty” — those were the words a young man used in court to describe how he feels when talking about incidents involving him and Barke. Both victims — now in their 20s — testified that when they were alone with Barke at the gym and at the 32-year-old’s apartment, he touched them inappropriately.

One victim’s mother also took the stand saying her son “all of a sudden hated gymnastics.” However, her son did tell the court he and Barke were friends on Facebook, adding he “wanted to be his best friend” because a lot of athletes coached by Barke got scholarships. That could explain why it took nearly 10 years for the victims to come forward.

Robert Edward Barke (credit: Broomfield Police/CBS)

Robert Edward Barke (credit: Broomfield Police/CBS)

A Broomfield police detective testified at least one of the boys was worried about losing scholarship opportunities.

Prosecutors rested their case late Tuesday afternoon. The trial continued Wednesday morning when the defense began its case.

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