The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Former coach cleared in rapes
BY KEITH EPPS
A former soccer coach and youth minister was cleared Friday of charges that he raped two girls.
Steven M. Bowers Jr., 33, of Orange was found not guilty of two counts of rape following a three-day jury trial in Orange Circuit Court.
Bowers had been accused of molesting the girls in 2007 and in 2008, when one girl was almost 12 and the other was 13 or 14.
Both girls lived in Spotsylvania at the time, but all of the incidents were alleged to have occurred in the town of Orange, where Bowers lives.
Bowers steadfastly denied that any abuse ever took place and his attorney, Charles Bowman, pointed out what he said were multiple discrepancies in the girls’ stories.
Bowman also put on evidence about Bowers’ schedule and whereabouts during the times of the alleged offenses, arguing that he couldn’t have had time to do what he was accused of.
Bowers was a soccer coach at Orange County High School and a youth minister at Salem Fields Community Church in Spotsylvania when he was arrested on March 30, 2011.
He was dismissed from both of those positions and his bond required, among other things, that he not be in the presence of anyone under 18 without adult supervision.
The girls had no connection to the high school, and there were no allegations of wrongdoing by Bowers while he worked for the church.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404