Two Castleton State College students have been arrested and face felony charges following the alleged assault students Nick Bruch and Josh Mannings that occurred in the early-morning hours of Jan. 27.
Chris Barletta, sophomore and starting point guard for the Spartans, also faces a misdemeanor assault charge relating to the incident. Barletta pleaded not guilty to both charges. Fellow sophomore Sean Mowry, is also facing a felony assault charge following his confession during a police interview, court papers show.
Sophomore Doug Krouse, also a guard on the men’s basketball team, was also charged with a felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor simple assault. However, the state’s attorney Marc Bierre dismissed these charges on Feb. 4.
“He was unfairly accused,” said Krouse’s attorney Matthew Branchaud.
“I don’t believe the case was actively investigated by the Castleton Police Department,” he said. “It’s disappointing.”
To Branchaud’s surprise, Krouse still faces a misdemeanor charge of simple assault, to which he pleaded not guilty.
According to Branchaud, Krouse was not involved in the incident and was in his dorm the entire night.
“There weren’t bruises or scratches on him or evidence that he just beat up someone,” he said.
After originally being banned from campus, Krouse has recently been allowed to return.
“It is now apparent to the college that Mr. Krouse was unfairly accused of the crime and he will resume all activities at the college,” said Director of College Relations and Sports Information, Jeff Weld.
Barletta and Mowry are banned from campus and Barletta has been expelled.
Barletta was escorted from campus on the evening of Jan. 27 by Public Safety Director Robert Godlewski and Castleton Police Officer Justin Szarejko and taken to the Marble Valley Correctional Facility.
According to court records, he was later released on $5,000 bail and is set to appear in court at a later date.
Bruch said the attack left him with a broken eye socket that may require reconstructive surgery as well as bruised ribs and numbness in his teeth and lips.
The altercation allegedly began with Barletta and Krouse against Mannings outside of Haskell Hall.
According to the court affidavit, Mannings said he was bitten by Barletta and punched by another person, who he later identified as Krouse. Mannings declined to comment on the case.
Bruch said his beating came following his attempt to come to Mannings’aid.
“I got a call from a friend around 4 a.m. on Sunday. He said he was being chased by five guys who wanted to kill him and to meet him on the rail trail,” said Bruch.
Bruch said he heard rustling along the dark trail and called out to Mannings. His calls were answered instead by three others, one of whom he identified to be Barletta.
Bruch said he was punched in the eye by Barletta and struck from behind by another.
Despite his statement in the police report that he was positive Krouse also punched him, Bruch told Spartan reporters that he had taken out his contacts and could not identify his other attackers.
”I’d love to see the other guys get into some trouble, but I don’t really know them and didn’t really see them-at least not to the ability to positively I.D. them,” Bruch said in an interview with a Spartan reporter.
In an email to campus regarding the incident, Godlewski warned students to, “be aware of your surroundings and to take appropriate action to assure your safety and the safety of others.” But he also assured that this was an isolated incident.
Despite two phone calls Barletta could not be reached for comment.