09/03/13 — Coach will face cyberstalking charge

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Coach will face cyberstalking charge

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on September 3, 2013 1:46 PM

A criminal summons for cyberstalking has been filed against Mount Olive College track team coach Matthew Van Lierop.

The charge stems from accusations made by former distance runner Amber Thompson, a member of the school's track team.

The Mount Olive Police Department served the summons last month.

Van Lierop's first court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 18.

A Wayne County magistrate filed the summons after Ms. Thompson testified she had been harassed by Van Lierop, 40, primarily through texts to her phone.

No written records of such testimonies are kept by the magistrate's office.

The college would not comment on the case, but officials said they have addressed the matter.

"These allegations have come to our attention, and although we are unable to report on personnel issues, it should be known that we are aware of the allegations," MOC President Dr. Philip Kerstetter said in a statement. "Investigations have been made and addressed. We at Mount Olive College are committed to providing an environment that supports our students."

Van Lierop became head coach of Mount Olive College's men's and women's cross country and track and field teams midway through the spring of 2009. Since then, he has won a number of awards for his work at Mount Olive College. Van Lierop was named Conference Carolinas Men's and Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year in both 2011 and 2012. He also was the 2011 US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Southeast Region Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year.

Ms. Thompson had a successful running career at Mount Olive College, having won the individual title at the Conference Carolinas Women's Cross Country Championship and Runner of the Year Award. She currently holds the school's record in the mile, but has stepped down from the track and field team.

Both Van Lierop and Thompson were called for comment on the case. Neither returned messages by press time.

According the N.C. statutes, cyberstalking is defined as using electric communication to "communicate to another repeatedly, whether or not conversation ensues, for the purpose of abusing, annoying, threatening, terrifying, harassing, or embarrassing any person."