Guntersville coach, David Barrow shocked the community with alarming news of sexual charges. Barrow, 57, a long-time soccer coach and volunteer for Guntersville High School, was arrested for sexual charges involving two 10-year-old girls. The arrest was made Friday night right after the Guntersville’s soccer team lost in the semi-finals. The Guntersville coach was charged with first-degree sexual abuse on a child less than 12 years of age. The arrest was made as Barrow’s soccer team was boarding the bus. He was also charged with first-degree human trafficking. Also arrested with Barrow was Kristian Danette Griffin, 28, who was charged with conspiracy to commit sexual abuse on a minor. No report was made whether Griffin was arrested alongside Barrow.
According to prosecutors, Barrow is not being accused of committing the sexual crimes while working as a soccer coach. The accused crimes that Barrow is facing are suspected to be committed outside his job. This statement was made by Chief Deputy Kirk Giles of the Huntsville Police Department. The news of the arrest has shocked Guntersville’s community. The executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, Steve Savarese, was mainly concerned about the victims when told about the news. He added that the authorities will determine if the accused is guilty. Savarese made it clear that he is mostly worried about the victims.
The AHSAA has recently been challenged with school funds to keep sport programs alive in schools. Lately, it has been necessary to hire coaches, many not being teachers, from outside of the school to keep certain kinetic programs active. Saverese defended the AHSAA by stating that people hired to be coaches that are non-teachers are certified to coach or to work the position. Plus, a background check is done before hiring any person to coach at any school in Alabama.
Opposing coach Ken Hudson, who beat the Guntersville coach, David Barrow, on Friday afternoon, was shocked and said that he did not know Barrow personally. Hudson stated that he only knows Barrow by just coaching against him. Hudson also expressed his feelings of the victims and never knew that this story would blow up and give the soccer community in Alabama a bad reputation.
Gina Conard, the assistant director of the Huntsville Sports Commission, stated that this alarming news should not affect the soccer community in Alabama. Conard has worked with Barrow for many years and, likely Guntersville’s community, was shocked to hear the news. However, she stated that this was an isolated incident and that soccer in Alabama remains safe.
Many people from the Guntersville High School community were pondering about the game on Friday afternoon. If the their high school would have won to go to the soccer state final, the press would have been worse. In fact, if these accusations are true, the high school team making the finals and dealing with the press is the least of the worries. The victims who were shocked from the terrible experience are the ones who have it the worst, and, hopefully, justice will prevail for them if the accusations that their Guntersville coach is facing are true.
Commentary by Jose Herrera