Coach accused of raping teenage girls headed to trial

A youth basketball coach accused of assaulting two teenage girls faced a judge Friday for a preliminary hearing.

Ralph Ruprecht is charged with rape, sexual assault and exploiting children.

The teenage accusers testified Friday in court that the case began with text messages before it escalated to meetings and sex.

The girls, who are 15 and 16, said they had sex with Ruprecht and testified that he forced them to perform other sexual acts against their will. One girl testified that she was struck multiple times, which led to bruising and broken ribs.

Ruprecht's attorney said the coach is not the only one to blame for what happened and the teens’ testimony will ultimately help his client.

"These kinds of cases are very fact intensive. There was a lot of facts that were testified to that are very suspect, inconsistent and quite frankly didn't make sense,” said Steve Townsend, Ruprecht's attorney.

The victims told the judge that Ruprecht also forced them to have sex with other middle-aged men in his apartment in the Strip District.

No one else wass facing charges as of Friday. Asked if he was surprised that his client was the only person charged, Townsend said: "No, it's not surprising because I don't think they're going to be able to substantiate that fact."

After hearing the testimony, the judge held all charges for trial. Officials in the district attorney’s office said they may file other charges, including sexual abuse and witness intimidation.

"We're definitely going to fight this case," Townsend said. "We're definitely going to fight it and I think today's testimony helped out our defense."

Ruprecht remains in the Allegheny County Jail on a $200,000 bond. Stay with Channel 11 News and for continuing coverage.

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