Conn. football players accused of sexual assault
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Two Connecticut high school football players have been charged in sexual assault cases that, like a recent high-profile Ohio rape case, have led to online taunts directed at an accuser.
The two 18-year-old Torrington High School players, Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, were charged with felony second-degree sexual assault and other crimes last month in cases involving different 13-year-old girls. Toribio also was charged two weeks ago in another second-degree sexual assault case.
A state judge sealed details of the allegations from public view. Both teens have pleaded not guilty to all charges. The arrests were first reported by The Register Citizen newspaper.
At least one of the alleged victims in Torrington, nearly 30 miles west of the capital, Hartford, has been taunted on social media by dozens of upset classmates, the newspaper reported. Students have called a girl a “whore” and bashed her for “snitching” and “ruining” the players’ lives.
State prosecutor Terri Sonnemann declined to comment on the sexual assault cases and on whether authorities are investigating the online taunts.
Gonzalez’s lawyer, J. Patten Brown III, said he hasn’t seen the state’s evidence yet, but has been told the charges allege consensual, but statutorily illegal, sex. He said Gonzalez is not making any admissions about having relations with the girl and intends to fight the charges.
“Oftentimes people are arrested and when all the facts come out they’re different than what people assumed,” Brown said.
A message was left Wednesday for Toribio’s attorney, Charles Brower.
In the Ohio case, Steubenville High School football team members Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond were sentenced to at least a year in juvenile jail Sunday after being found guilty of using their hands to rape a drunken 16-year-old girl. The case bitterly divided the city and led to accusations of a cover-up to protect the athletes.
On Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the teen girl is being victimized by threats against her on Twitter and he demanded an end to such postings.
In Torrington, Gonzalez and Toribio have been suspended from school, said Ken Traub, chairman of the local Board of Education.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, school Superintendent Cheryl Kloczko read a brief statement pledging to abide laws protecting student confidentiality. She declined further comment.
Torrington police said little about the accusations in news releases, except that Gonzalez and Toribio were arrested in connection with alleged sexual encounters with 13-year-old girls.
Toribio has posted $100,000 bail for the two sexual assault cases.
Gonzalez is being detained on $65,000 bail at the New Haven Correctional Center. He also has pleaded not guilty in an alleged robbery case from last year that remains pending.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.