PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A sixth grade girls’ basketball coach from Beaver County is facing multiple sexual assault charges, accused of luring underage girls to an apartment where they were allegedly raped.
Ralph Ruprecht, 50, was arrested Friday morning outside his home in Freedom.
“Nauseous, makes you sick in your stomach that something like that could happen,” Donnie Scherfel, of Freedom, said. “I’m glad he’s sitting in jail right now before some other kid got hurt in his actions.”
Police say he’s accused of luring at least two underage girls to an apartment he rented in Strip District, where they were allegedly raped and sexually assaulted by as many as eight men. According to the investigation, Ruprecht allegedly threatened to tell their parents and physically assaulted the girls to gain compliance.
Investigators say one of the teenage girls told them she visited the apartment more than 20 times. The other girl says she came back multiple times as well over the course of two years.
Linda Jones manages the apartment, and said she was concerned about what was going on inside, noting that she heard disturbing sounds coming from inside. Finally, she said was concerned enough that she kicked Ruprecht out of the unit.
Detectives are looking for other possible suspects and victims at this time.
Ruprecht was a basketball coach with Little Bridger Basketball in Ambridge. KDKA reached out to the director of the league, and she told us over the phone that Ruprecht passed a full background check and his kids were on the team he coached.
“I think it’s coming too far, and too often, and too familiar around area, and I believe they should do deeper interviews and background checks on these teachers and coaches,” said Jeannine Arbes, a Freedom resident.
The suspect’s neighbors didn’t want to go on camera, but say they all love his wife and three kids and their thoughts are with them during this time.
Ruprecht is facing charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, sexual exploitation of children and indecent assault. He’s being held in the Allegheny County Jail.