Dwight Bowling indicted on 5 charges

Updated: September 23, 2010, 6:03 PM ET
Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. -- A federal grand jury has indicted an Alabama high school football coach on charges of child molestation and allegedly trying to get a victim to lie to authorities investigating the incidents.

A grand jury in Oxford issued the indictment Thursday. Dwight Bowling was indicted on one count of harassing a witness and four counts of coercing a minor into having sex, federal documents said, adding a court appearance is pending.

The indictment came a day after federal prosecutors produced transcripts from taped conversations in which they say Bowling encouraged one of the alleged victims to lie about whether they'd had a sexual relationship.

Documents showed investigators secretly recorded conversations between Bowling and one teenager less than two weeks ago. The other four counts cite specific dates and allege that Bowling transported a minor across state lines into Alabama for sex.

He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

Bowling was being held without bond in the Lafayette County jail in Oxford. Messages left with his attorney by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Bowling, who coached at Smithville High School for 28 years, retired there and took a similar job in Sulligent, Ala., five years ago. He was arrested Friday on his way home from a football game.

Federal prosecutors told a judge that at the time of Bowling's arrest Friday night, he had a 13-year-old boy in a vehicle with him. Prosecutors said the boy gave a statement to Lamar County, Ala., investigators stating Bowling improperly touched him four times since January, with the last occurrence three weeks ago.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press