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Former Beaver County coach pleads guilty to raping teen girls

Megan Guza
| Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, 3:21 p.m.
Ralph Richard Ruprecht.
Pittsburgh Police
Ralph Richard Ruprecht.

A former Beaver County girls basketball coach pleaded guilty Wednesday to forcing two teenage girls to have sex with him and other men in a Strip District apartment.

Ralph Ruprecht, 51, of Freedom was sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison followed by 20 years of probation on charges that included rape, sexual assault and corruption of minors. Jury selection for Ruprecht's trial had been slated to begin Tuesday.

“I feel like my daughter — my only daughter — was stolen away from me,” the mother of one victim said in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. “I feel like I missed several important years of her life. I still currently spend many days (and) nights crying, worrying and knowing now what I could have done different.”

Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel read through all 21 charges against Ruprecht during the plea hearing. She called the crimes incomprehensible.

“Only one person in this world is responsible for what happened to your daughter,” McDaniel said to the mother.

Both girls were 15 when Ruprecht began texting them. The Tribune-Review does not identify victims of sex crimes.

Between 2015 and early 2016, Ruprecht arranged multiple times to meet the girls and have sex with them, the victims testified at a preliminary hearing last year.

Both testified that Ruprecht often forced them into sex acts, and often other men would show up at the apartment to assault the girls. One victim said that Ruprecht threatened to tell her parents. The other said Ruprecht would punch and choke her to force her compliance.

Ruprecht, who was arrested in August 2016, had been a girls basketball coach for the Little Bridger Basketball league in Ambridge and served as a coach for his daughter's team for five years. Prior to his arrest, he most recently had coached the sixth grade girls' team.

“I have lost trust in a lot,” the mother told the court. “I really don't understand why someone would cause so much hurt to so many for something so selfish.”

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter at @meganguzaTrib.

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