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Update: Hazing case against prominent wrestling coach dropped

Six months after a prominent wrestling coach was charged with hazing and child endangering, the case has been dropped.

As InterMat reported in April 2019, Bart Freidenberg, active in various aspects of youth wrestling in the state of Ohio, had been charged with child endangering and hazing, based on an alleged incident in Franklin, Ohio -- a community about halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton -- back in the summer of 2018.

On Friday, the Journal-News reported that the case had been dismissed without prejudice against Freidenberg, 58, due to "the reluctance of one alleged victim and the logistics of getting another alleged out-of-state victim to testify in Franklin Municipal Court."

Freidenberg of Pickerington, Ohio near Columbus, had been released on his own recognizance back in April, pending pre-trial conferences and a jury trial that was set for late November.

"We ended up dismissing the case without prejudice," said Franklin City Prosecutor Steve Runge. "We couldn't put together the witnesses as most were from out of state."

Runge said some of the athletes and their parents were reluctant to testify for fear it might affect future opportunities to compete.

In June 2018, the Ohio All-Star Wrestling Team coached by Freidenberg rented Franklin school facilities to conduct a camp prior to heading to the West Coast for a 6-8 week trip. The All-Star Wrestling Team had competitors from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

A participant in the camp from Cincinnati contacted his parents to tell them he had been the victim of a hazing incident at a Franklin public school and wanted to go home. His parents contacted Franklin police.

Freidenberg has been the Ohio AAU Wrestling Chairman since 1986, and served as a wrestling coach at a number of schools in central Ohio. In 2006, Freidenberg was inducted into the AAU Wrestling Hall of Fame.

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