Bellwood Antis School District Athletic Director and Wrestling Coach Charged with Endangering Students, Covering Up Sexual Abuse at School

January 11, 2024 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced that two Bellwood Antis School District officials have been charged for their role in failing to adequately protect students after being notified of an investigation into sexual assault allegations against the junior high wrestling coach, Ryan Blazier.

Blazier was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to decades in prison in June 2023.

Today, the Office of Attorney General filed felony charges against Charles Burch and Timothy Andrekovich, who were the school’s athletic director and head varsity wrestling coach, respectively, at the time of the offenses.

Burch, 52, is charged with intimidating a witness for threatening a student victim of Blazier’s if the victim told anyone about the allegations. Andrekovich, 59, is charged with endangering the welfare of children for failing to adequately carry out a safety plan during the investigation into Blazier’s sexual assaults, allowing Blazier to have continued unsupervised access to students.

Burch and Andrekovich were arraigned Thursday and bail was set to $50,000 unsecured for each of the defendants.

“As school district employees, these defendants were trusted by students, parents, and the community to protect, educate, and mentor young people,” said Attorney General Henry. “Instead, they were notified of abuse allegations and failed to take adequate measures to protect the students for whom they were responsible. My office is committed to protecting children, including holding those accountable who perpetuate abusive behavior. Let me be clear: when you have the professional responsibility to safeguard the well-being of children and fail to do so, we will investigate and prosecute that conduct.”

An investigation by the Office of Attorney General revealed that in December 2019, school officials, including Andrekovich and Burch, were informed that Blazier was under investigation for child sexual abuse. A “safety plan” was put in place while the investigation continued to ensure Blazier did not have unsupervised access to children on school property.

As head wrestling coach at the time, Andrekovich was responsible for implementing the safety plan. Despite Andrekovich’s agreement to enforce the safety protocols, Blazier continued to have access to children behind locked doors. Androkevich received information that Blazier was leading “wrestle offs,” which involved students alone with Blazier in a closed, locked room. Despite this information, Andrekovich allegedly failed to take measures to ensure that students were not left alone with Blazier.

The Office of Attorney General investigation also found that in February 2020, Burch called one of Blazier’s student victims into his office. When the victim began expressing concerns about Blazier, Burch allegedly threatened repercussions if the student told anyone else about these concerns.

Anyone who has information about child predators is urged to contact the Attorney General’s Child Predator Section at 1-800-385-1044. Concerned citizens can also report child abuse to the Pennsylvania ChildLine by calling 1-800-932-0313.

This case was referred to the Office of Attorney General by the Blair County District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Julia van Leeuwen. All charges are accusations. The defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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