Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Dewayne Barger, who has worked at Salem High and Eastern Montgomery High, has been fired from the NRV Juniors volleyball club.
Dewayne Thomas Barger
Thursday, March 28, 2013
A former Salem volleyball player said the coach facing child pornography charges lavished unwelcome attention upon her as early as 2007, leading her family to inform Salem High School officials of his behavior.
Dewayne Thomas Barger, 37, is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography. He is accused of secretly recording videos of players changing clothes and bathing in his apartment.
Barger was the assistant director of the NRV Juniors volleyball club until last week. He coached Eastern Montgomery High School's JV volleyball team for the 2012 season, and prior to that served as a volunteer assistant coach for Salem High School's volleyball teams between 2006 and 2011.
According to a search warrant in the case, a "covert pen camera" in the bathroom of Barger's home recorded underage female volleyball players bathing and changing uniforms without their knowledge. Court documents do not specify which team or teams the girls were affiliated with.
NRV Juniors director Karen Bolton said Wednesday that she fired Barger on March 19, shortly after she was interviewed by police. Still, at least one former player said she made her discomfort with Barger known years ago.
Madeline Aliff , a 2009 Salem High School graduate, said Barger lavished attention upon her when she was a JV volleyball player. After Barger showed up at her home in November 2007 and delivered a set of gifts for her 16th birthday, her family went to the high school's administration.
Frequent text messages
Aliff, who has now completed college, said Barger became overly interested in her during her second season playing for him, the 2007 season. She said he frequently texted her about topics that went beyond volleyball.
"He was just texting like he was my friend," Aliff said. "He was texting like he was my age."
At one point, she said, he told her she "deserved better" than the boyfriend she was dating at the time.
Aliff said he often contacted her before games, asking if she wanted to go to dinner at Salem establishments such as Mac and Bob's. Aliff would then reach out to her teammates to see who else would be there.
"I would always ask if they were going," Aliff said. "They didn't know what I was talking about. They weren't invited."
Aliff said she never agreed to a one-on-one meal with Barger.
However, she said she did go to dinner with Barger and then-JV head coach Kim Martinez one weekend during the season after Martinez invited her to discuss volleyball.
Aliff said Martinez picked her up and they drove to Christiansburg, along with Martinez's small child. On the way, she said Martinez told her she was surprising Barger. Aliff said Martinez was her coach throughout two years of middle school volleyball and moved to Salem High School when she made the transition to high school. According to Aliff, Martinez brought Barger on as a volunteer coach at Salem, introducing him as a frequent teammate in doubles volleyball.
According to Aliff, Martinez consistently told her she was Barger's favorite.
When they collected Barger from his job at Lowes, Aliff said she hopped in the back seat, and Barger sent her a text message from the front seat saying he was surprised to see her. She said she sat quietly through much of the dinner at Red Robin, as little volleyball was discussed. Martinez, who is now Salem's varsity volleyball coach, then drove her home. Martinez could not be reached for comment.
But until later that season, about the time of her 16th birthday, Aliff was unsure whether Barger's behavior was inappropriate.
"At that age, it was hard to decide if that was wrong," Aliff said. "It was more the other girls saying, 'He doesn't text me like that,' or 'He doesn't give me that kind of attention.' "
In late November 2007, near the time of her birthday, Aliff said she was home alone in Salem one night. She said she was in the basement when she got a text message from Barger: "Come outside."
She went out the back door from the basement and walked around to the front of the house, where Barger had parked his car on the street. He was standing outside, she said, holding a Virginia Tech rug and a gift bag. He didn't say much, but handed over the gifts, Aliff said. Inside the gift bag, she found an assortment of clothing from American Eagle - khaki pants, pajamas and shirts.
Shortly after receiving the items, which she never wore, Aliff said a health teacher overheard her discussing Barger with a friend. The teacher alerted others in the school and Aliff said she had separate meetings that same day with then-varsity volleyball coach David Turk and assistant principal Scott Habeeb.
She remembered Turk asking her if Barger had ever touched her inappropriately. Aliff said Barger never did touch her inappropriately, but she felt that Turk and Habeeb dismissed her descriptions of Barger's behavior.
Salem spokesman Mike Stevens said school officials could not be reached Wednesday night to offer comment. Habeeb, Martinez and Turk did not respond to independent calls on Wednesday evening for comment for this report .
After the gifts were delivered, Aliff's mother and father, along with the concerned parent of another volleyball player, set up a meeting with Habeeb. Debbie Aliff, Madeline's mother, said the parents aimed to make the administration aware of Barger's behavior at the meeting, which occurred around winter break in late 2007 or early 2008.
"We just wanted to let them know this was going on," Debbie Aliff said.
She said they specifically made clear that the birthday gift seemed inappropriate. Habeeb, according to Debbie Aliff, told them the school would look into the matter.
In the days after the meeting, word began to spread that Barger would not be back in his volunteer coaching position the following season. Debbie Aliff said some who liked Barger blamed her daughter.
"She got a couple voice mails from friends who were upset," she said.
But while Madeline and Debbie Aliff said Barger was not a member of the volleyball staff for the 2008-09 season, Salem spokesman Mike Stevens said Barger worked with the team continuously from 2006 through 2011. Stevens said he passed a background check in August 2006. He said he did not know what led Barger to leave the coaching position in 2011.
Officials: No complaints
Kevin DeGidio, a Salem parent, said he complained about Barger when his daughter played for the coach at NRV Juniors, beginning in 2011. He said he told Bolton, the group's director, that Barger texted his underage daughter incessantly, going into details of his personal life and sending messages late at night. He also said required water aerobics practices in which Barger and the players were in the pool together caused his daughter discomfort.
Bolton said she never received any complaints about Barger and called DeGidio's statement's false. She said NRV Juniors is cooperating with the investigation. Police instructed her not to comment further, she said, because the investigation is ongoing.
DeGidio said he also called Old Dominion Regional volleyball, a governing body, with the same complaints in April 2012. The group's vice president, Bob Kyle, denied receiving any complaints related to Barger.
Brenda Drake, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County Public Schools, said no complaints were filed against Barger during his season coaching at Eastern Montgomery High School.
DeGidio and Madeline Aliff are not involved with the criminal case against Barger.
Items seized from home
Salem police began investigating the case early last week, when a female acquaintance not identified in the warrant discovered the hidden camera in the bathroom of Barger's apartment on Margaret Lane in the Riverwalk apartment complex, the search warrant affidavit states. The person who discovered the camera listened to the audio it had recorded and heard "young females discussing trying on volleyball uniforms," the warrant reads.
A detective who viewed the contents of the camera saw multiple young females stripping to their bras and underwear to try on uniforms, according to the affidavit. Other videos showed the girls nude while bathing.
Police said Tuesday that the victim involved in the charges against Barger was unaware she was being recorded.
The warrant, which was executed March 18, indicates that police seized a laptop computer, a desktop computer, three tablet computers, an iPod, two cellphones, two thumb drives and assorted documents.
Dewayne Thomas Barger gets married at Green Ridge Baptist Church while studying business management at Virginia Western. He had previously graduated from Salem High School. With Barger employed by Lowes, the family settles in Salem.
Begins coaching volleyball at Salem High School on a volunteer basis.
Delivers birthday presents to home of Madeline Aliff, according to the former Salem volleyball player. The gifts spurred her parents to inform Salem administrators of the attention Barger paid to Aliff.
NRV Juniors mentions Barger as a coach on Facebook. NRV Juniors director Karen Bolton declined to say when Barger joined the organization, but he rose to the assistant director position.
He leaves his assistant coach post at Salem High School.
Barger and his wife divorce. His ex-wife retains custody of their only child.
Sept. to Oct. 2012
Barger coaches JV volleyball as Eastern Montgomery High School in Montgomery County.
An adult female acquaintance of Barger turns over to police a “pen camera” she said she discovered in the bathroom of Barger’s Margaret Lane apartment. The woman heard audio of young girls recorded by the camera.
Based on video of nude, underage females bathing and changing clothes on the pen camera, Salem Police obtain and execute a search warrant on Barger’s apartment, seizing several computers, cell phones and data storage drives.
Police interview Karen Bolton, director of the girls volleyball travel team for which Barger serves as assistant director. That day, Bolton says, she terminated Barger’s relationship with the club.
Barger is arrested and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.
Staff writer Matt Chittum contributed to this report.
Weather JournalRain is here; no snow