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Pennsylvania coach accused of cover-up in alleged rape of player

By Ed Payne and Kevin Conlon, CNN
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Coach Alicia Colon is charged with multiple felonies, including hindering an investigation
  • Rafael Gomez-Echavarria is charged with rape
  • The alleged rape took place in August, but wasn't reported until late October
  • No arrests have been made, police say

(CNN) -- Pennsylvania authorities issued an arrest warrant this week for a high school field hockey coach accused of covering up the alleged rape of one of her players during a weekend athletic festival over the summer.

A 23-year-old man has been charged with rape in the case.

Court documents say Rafael Gomez-Echavarria of Reading raped a 16-year-old girl early on the morning of August 4 at a Best Western Hotel near Harrisburg.

The teen was in town attending the Keystone State Games with her family, but had been given permission to spend the night at the hotel with Alicia Colon, her field hockey coach at Kutztown Area High School, and two other girls for what was billed as a "girls night."

But it didn't stay that way for long, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The document says Colon, 25, went to nearby Elizabethtown to pick up three men, including Gomez-Echavarria, who spent the night in the room with Colon and the girls. The coach told police that the males had taken Ecstasy, and she admitted to smoking marijuana with them.

The alleged victim told police she slept on the floor because Colon and one of the men were "carrying on" in the bed in which she was supposed to sleep.

The girl said she woke up when one of the men, later identified by police as Gomez-Echavarria, began kissing her neck. She told police she had to tell him approximately five times to stop before he did.

The girl woke up again about two hours later when Gomez-Echavarria was touching her "private areas" and later forced her to have intercourse, according to court documents. She told police she didn't scream because she was afraid he would hurt her.

When the alleged sexual assault was over, Gomez-Echavarria instructed the girl not to say anything, telling her it was "our little secret," before he went to sleep.

It was then that the girl texted her coach, who was on a bed next to her. Colon didn't read the text message until later in the morning, the affidavit said.

This is when the alleged cover-up began, according to court documents.

Afraid of losing her job, Colon told the girl to "forget about the rape and it will go away," the police report said. The men had left the room at that point.

It's unclear how long the girl kept her secret, but her mother contacted the Lower Swatara Township Police Department on October 27 to report a rape.

Police interviewed Colon on November 7, according to court documents. She initially told police there was no attempt to cover anything up, but when told that authorities had her text messages, "her story changed."

"Alicia tried to cover up the rape in fear of losing her job," Detective Ryan Gartland wrote in the affidavit. "We confirmed this through text and Facebook messages."

Both Colon and Gomez-Echavarria were charged November 27 in district court -- each with multiple felonies and misdemeanors.

Colon's charges included hindering an investigation, destroying evidence, endangering children and the corruption of minors.

Among Gomez-Echavarria's charges are forcible rape, sexual assault, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor.

Officer Joseph Smith with the Lower Swatara Township Police Department told CNN Tuesday night that neither suspect had been arrested yet.

CNN's attempts to contact Colon and Gomez-Echavarria were unsuccessful.

Kutztown School Superintendent Kathy Metrick said Colon has been an assistant field hockey coach for two years. She is employed by the district only during the season, which this year began August 12 and ended October 14.

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