EDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) – A former wrestling coach at Eden High School, a man once trusted to watch over high school students, admitted Tuesday he raped two teenage girls.
Justin Farrara, 27, didn’t have a criminal record. There were no red flags in his background. But now the truth is out and school administrators, police and parents are asking other potential victims to come forward.
Farrara was an assistant wrestling coach at Eden High School. In that position, he was able to meet and befriend several high school girls.
“He would see the girls walking through the halls and would ask some of the students on the wrestling team who they were and would apparently make it a point to talk to them and get to know them. He eventually exchanged phone numbers and it just went on from there,” said State Police Investigator Chris Wysocki.
Those relationships soon crossed the line. Farrara pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of third-degree rape for having sex with two different girls – ages 15 and 16. One incident took place in August 2012, and the other in April 2014. By the time the second incident took place, Fararra was no longer working for the Eden School District.
Last season he was an assistant coach with St. Francis High School, but officials there say it is a seasonal position and clearly they will not be bringing him back.
“I’m appalled. I’m appalled for our students. I’m appalled for the parents. That anyone who works in any school would take on that behavior,” said Eden Central Schools Superintendent Sandy Anzalone. “He abused authority that we give teachers and coaches or anyone who works with students.”
Investigators are more specific, saying Farrara is predator who likes underage girls and is at risk to re-offend.
“I believe so. and hopefully through the courts, they’ll make sure he gets the necessary treatment so this doesn’t happen again,” Wysocki said.
Police were able to catch Farrara thanks to a Twitter page called Western New York Confessions, where teens offer confessions. There, a student offered a clue that two students were sexually involved with Farrara. Here is the Tweet that sparked the investigation:
Zach Funnell’s brother had Farrara for a coach at Eden High School. He’d see Farrara at games and deep down he felt something was wrong.
“He was kind of creepy with the girls, like he would talk to the girls every once and a while. Just kind of weird to see that an older man would be talking to like a 16-year-old girl or girls in their teenage years,” said Funnell.
Funnell also says he knows one of the girls Farrara admitted to raping.
“That kind of stuff is just sad and sickening to see and no girl deserves that to happen to them and it’s just so sad.”
He’s worried if people find out who she is, her problems will only get worse.
“Even if somebody were to figure out that it’s her, just all the stuff she could go through for the rest of her life. It’s emotionally scarring just for a young girl to go through.”
Meanwhile parents and grandparents are outraged a coach would take advantage of teen girls.
“That person was allowed to be around girls, or kids, even the fellas ,just makes me angry because he’s sick,” said Barbara Caffery from Eden.
“It’s disgusting and its mind boggling that he could even think he could rope people into it,” said Judy Price from North Collins.
“It sounds like he just blended in and kind of opportunistic,” said Virginia Guenther from Eden.
Investigators and school officials say this is a wake-up call for parents to keep track of who their teens see and socialize with. But today’s technology makes that difficult.
“It is [important], but I don’t see how you can when they have cell phones and are linked into the internet. I can’t see how you can completely keep track,” said Michele Penna, whose children are grown.
Farrara will be sentenced in October. He faces up to eight years in prison.