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Crime

Former Mount Saint Joseph wrestling coach accused of sexual abuse is released from home detention with trial set for January

The former Mount Saint Joseph wrestling coach accused of sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree rape was released Wednesday from home detention, with a trial date set for January.

Neil Adleberg, 74, of Reisterstown, is the only person who has been criminally charged in connection with the state Attorney General’s Office investigation into the Catholic Church, which became public in 2018.

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He faces charges of sexual abuse of a minor, sexual solicitation of a minor and two counts of second-degree rape and attempted second-degree rape. The alleged offenses took place over two years in 2013 and 2014.

Adleberg, a coach for the school in the 1970s who returned as an assistant wrestling coach for the 2014-15 season, was granted home detention in April.

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His defense attorney, Joe Murtha, who has said Adleberg denies the allegations against him, argued Wednesday that his home detention requirement should be terminated because Adleberg has complied for four months without issue and the two hope to interview a number of possible witnesses as part of his defense.

Elizabeth Embry, a special assistant to Attorney General Brian Frosh, who has overseen the investigation into the Catholic Church, told Circuit Court Judge Robert Cahill Jr. that the state had requested detention initially and opposed removing home detention requirements, calling it “generous.”

Adleberg, she said, is accused of years of premeditated grooming, not a “one-off,” which is “extremely serious.”

Murtha told the judge that he thought no “single person” had stepped forward to “echo” claims against Adleberg following news of his charges. But Embry pushed back, saying the office had heard from people who said they’d observed “grooming” behavior.

Cahill said he would terminate Adleberg’s home detention requirement “given the passage of time without issues.” Adleberg will continue to be prohibited from contacting the victim or the victim’s family, Cahill said.

The victim has not been identified and The Baltimore Sun typically does not identify people who say they were sexually assaulted. Authorities have said the victim was not a student at Mount Saint Joseph.

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Adleberg led the high school to the National Preps Tournament championship for three consecutive years in the 1970s. The Gaels were the first Maryland team to win the event.

He is also a past president of the Maryland State Wrestling Association and created and ran the Mount Mat Madness high school wrestling tournament for nearly two decades. It was considered the premier tournament in the state and attracted some of the best high school teams along the East Coast.

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Adleberg is set for a trial date on Jan. 31, Embry confirmed.

The personnel from the Attorney General’s Office on the case are expected to change by then. Embry recently won a primary election to represent a Baltimore district in the House of Delegates and Frosh did not seek a third term.

One day before Adleberg’s hearing, survivors of abuse called for Frosh to release the results of his investigation into the Catholic Church in a news conference organized by the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

A spokeswoman for the attorney general said this week the investigation is ongoing and the office expects “to have some news in the next few months.”

Frosh has made this a “priority,” spokeswoman Raquel Coombs said, and “significant resources” have been dedicated to it.


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