Friday, April 27, 2007

Breaking News. . .State Penn Brawl

Six State Penn players have been charged with a total of 10 felonies, 8 misdemeanors, and 6 summary charges, including Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Solicitation, Assault, and Disorderly Conduct stemming from a brawl on April 1:

Press Release and Complaint courtesy of the The Daily Collegian.

Update (1):
From The Daily Collegian, which is scooping everyone on the story:

The players turned themselves in at the Penn State University Police office at Eisenhower parking deck shortly before 10:30 this morning to be arraigned via video by Centre County District Justice Carmine Prestia. All six players arrived together in two cars, and did not comment on their way into the arraignment.

Baker and Scirrotto were released on $50,000 unsecured bail. King, Hayes, Sargeant and Sales were released on $10,000 unsecured bail. . . .

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. next Friday in courtroom 2 at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.

Update (2):
Head Coach Joe Paterno has issued an extraordinarily disappointing statement:

Speaking for our football staff, we are very concerned with the accusations made today and will determine the appropriate consequence for each player's status on the team when due process has transpired. Until such time, we will have no further comment regarding the situation.

Update (3):
The Penn State University spokesman has issued a statement:

University spokesman Bill Mahon did not return phone calls yesterday, but he issued a statement that read: "It is distressing to learn that Penn State students have been charged with several crimes in the case of an off-campus incident. The university's office of judicial affairs will review the information collected during the borough police investigation and determine if there were violations of the university's code of conduct.

"Of course the students have to deal with the criminal justice system, but we also have a responsibility to review these cases in relation to our code of conduct. That process is separate from what goes on in the criminal courts. There may also be additional sanctions imposed by [the Penn State athletic department].

"In some cases the judicial affairs process is completed before criminal court proceedings, but it is not possible to predict the timing."

Update (4): Lawyerspeak

The attorney for the football player accused of triggering an apartment invasion and alleged assaults said police have misrepresented the facts and charged his client with crimes he didn't commit.

"Nothing shows he touched anybody, did anything to anybody, marshaled forth the troops or anything," Attorney Ed Blanarik said. His client, Anthony Scirrotto, 20, was charged Friday with three felonies for allegedly soliciting several other football players to seek revenge on two men for an altercation with Scirrotto and his girlfriend.

"Just because he may have made a phone call to somebody and several members of the team showed up doesn't mean that he solicited them to commit a crime," Blanarik said. . . .

Blanarik offered no explanation for why 20 some members of the football team arrived at Scirrotto's aid that night. "I just know that he didn't ask them to come," Blanarik said. . . .

"He may have been inside the apartment, but nothing shows he did anything while in there or that he gained illegal entry," Blanarik said. A criminal complaint states that Scirrotto was turned away from the apartment before he made a phone call to fellow player, Lydell Sargeant. . . .

Attorney Ron McGlaughlin said King and Hayes did not hurt anyone that night, even though police argue they committed a crime by entering the apartment after being told they were not welcome.

"Do you mean to tell me you become a criminal because you go inside and say, 'Come on, it's time to go?'" McGlaughlin said.

Attorney Karen Muir, who represents Lydell Sargeant, 20, said she looks forward to the football player being exonerated.

"At this point, we are still investigating the allegations. And they are just that, allegations," Muir said. "We are looking forward to defending the case and having the preliminary hearing Friday."

Update (5): Subpoenas have been issued for this Friday's Preliminary Hearing

Thirteen football players are among 37 people who have been subpoenaed to testify Friday at a preliminary hearing for six football players who were
charged last week in connection with an April apartment invasion in State
The Penn State football players subpoenaed are:
• Jedediah Hill
• Knowledge Timmons
• Nicholas Pinchek
• Vincent Deon Butler
• Brennan Coakley
• Tom Golarz
• Michael Lucian
• Bani Gbadyu
• Austin Hinton
• Richard Ohrnberger
• Matt Hahn
• Dan Connor
• Lou Eliades . . .

Larry Himes and Joseph McGarrity, who are the occupants of the Meridian
apartment, also were subpoenaed, along with Bernd Imle and Thomas Skalamera, both of State College, who were cited Friday for criminal mischief for their role in an initial street altercation with Scirrotto. . . .


Superdestroyer said...

The football program has such a lock on the local media and is probably the second best myth making system in college football that there is a good probability that none of the football players will ever be punished.

The least likely person to stay around Penn State is the accuser since he will have his life disrupted because he has challenged the myth of Joe Paterno and Penn State.

Profane said...

Giving credit where credit is due, 76% of Paterno's players graduate, which is much higher than the national average. I am also going to withhold any judgement on his handling of internal team discipline in this matter until he announces punishments.

As for the accusers, you have nailed things completely - if you can stomach it, check out the reactions to this on the various Penn State athletics message boards. Some of the comments there amount to witness intimidation.

The most notorious thing that has happened with regard to the accusers is that there was a letter signed "The voice of the Penn State student body" slipped under the door of the apartment where the incident happened within a few days after the brawl:

"I don't presume to know exactly what happened with the fight that occurred in this apartment, but there was most likely an alternative solution that wasn't taken. There are probably people to blame on both sides, but in any case, it was an unfortunate event.

I want you to realize that you have the power now to press charges or to drop them. Legally, the ball is in your hands. However, you can be a hero in this situation and forgive the attackers for what they have done. There is no question that what they did was wrong, and now you can show them the mercy they failed to show you. This isn't about payback, this is about doing what is good for everyone.

The problem with pressing charges is that you not only punish them, but you punish the entire student body and alumni who have come before you. . . ."