Coach Accused of Stealing Thousands from Wrestling Club

TOWANDA -- A teacher is charged with forging checks and stealing thousands of dollars from a youth wrestling club in Bradford County.

After a year-long investigation, state police arrested Robert Watkins and accused the teacher and coach of stealing about $20,000 from the Towanda Youth Wrestling Club.

Watkins teaches social studies at the Towanda Area Junior-Senior High School. He also coaches the junior high wrestling team.

According to arrest papers, the president of the youth wrestling club told state police money was missing, and someone was forging the president's name. Troopers say that man was Watkins.

"It makes you wonder what people can do. You never know," said Crystal Barrett of Towanda, who has a daughter in high school.

Barrett says Watkins broke the trust of a teacher-student relationship.

"(I'm) shocked and upset. I feel bad for the kids and parents that did all the fundraisers for all that money. It was just heartbreaking," Barrett said.

Court papers indicate that Watkins wrote a check from the wrestling club for $9,600 to repay a loan he took from his retirement fund. Another check for almost $2,000 went toward a new sink being installed at a club.

Troopers say Watkins also took thousands of dollars through a series of ATM withdrawals.

"That money should be going to all those kids. I am sure they raise money throughout the year, and families put a lot of time and effort to raise money for these kids so they can do something positive with it," said Stacey Hrivak of LeRaysville.

Hrivak is an elementary teacher at Northeast Bradford Elementary just outside of Sayre.

"We are supposed to be role models, especially in small communities. We need to teach our children not to steal and to always tell the truth and always do the right thing, so it's shocking for this to happen in a small community," Hrivak said.

Watkins is free on bail but is due back in court next week.

The Towanda Area School District would not comment on the situation.

19 comments

  • John

    I am so sick of people talking about how he is a sick man with an addiction. He was my teacher for psychology, ethics, and history. He bought 2 trucks in less than a year. Every morning on my way to school I’d stop and get a coffee or a quick bite to eat. He was ALWAYS in one of the dandy’s buying scratch off tickets. He went to one of the 4 dandy’s in towanda. Or he would go to smokin’ joes and put whatever he won back into more scratch offs. He was always telling us stories about going to tioga downs and betting on horses. If he can teach psychology he knows what he was doing. A lot of the youth wrestlers come from low income homes, and it’s geared around youth who are ill-mannered. This isn’t a role model we need. Watkins also mowed lawns and did odd jobs on the side as well. He used to bring his new Kubota diesel zero turn to school everyday because he was mowing lawns afterward. Maybe to pay off debts or support his habits. He was a cool guy and a nice teacher, but fully aware of his actions. I don’t know where they say “accused” he is obviously guilty. I feel bad for his wife and kids. She is a teacher, and his kids are in high school. Almost everyone knew him from this area. He is also a very smart man. Sad to see, but he knew.

  • III%

    Gotta love the grammar Nazi’s and the people who are so lacking they have to prove just how intelligent they are yet end up being complete douches it’s a typical Pennsylvania attitude mostly learned from the NJ transplants

  • III%

    but I have noticed WNEP hasn’t done a story yet about the bank employee in Athens township that stole $17,500 from a 102 year old person 13 plus felony counts

  • Yanks in 2018

    I know a person in Scranton who has gone from oranization (PTA, Little League, Restaurants, bars, Soccer Leagues, basketball leagues, etc.,etc., etc.) to organization allegedly skimming funds from all of the organizations they have been a part of! Wherever the money is, this individual seems very willing to “volunteer” their services!! There are WAY too many of these people out there!!

  • DORKO

    Non profits are full of scammers throughout the region. And as many know for political reasons most never get reported. There is no audits, administrative controls or accountability for many of these small non for profit organizations!!!!! In 2018 other than little league baseball very little youth non profit orgs run background checks, who knows who has access to money in some of these organizations. its bad news!!!!!!!

    • Huggy

      If someone from Mt Carmel can see the scams you’d think there’d be a few more to know better than pay skook’s “economic developers” that give the house away to corporations

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