Student athlete charged with assault in Sunday beating

Castleton State College starting point guard Chris Barletta was arrested Sunday on a felony assault charge for allegedly beating up a fellow student.

    Barletta, who also faces a misdemeanor assault charge, was escorted from the campus Sunday evening by Public Safety Director, Robert Godlewski, and Castleton Police Officer, Justin Szarejko.
    The sophomore was taken to The Marble Valley Correctional Facility in Rutland where his bail was set at $20,000, according to a booking officer at the facility. The officer said Barletta was released from jail on Monday and court records show he is set to appear in court Monday, Feb. 25.
     Freshman Nick Bruch contends that his beating came after an attempt to help his friend, who Barletta supposedly was after.
    “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,” Bruch said. “I was in bed, I had showered, my contacts were out, but I hopped outta bed.”
     Bruch said that he heard rustling on the trail and called out, trying to find his friend.
    Instead, three others, including Barletta appeared, asking him why he was there and where his friend was.
After asking him where his friend was, Bruch said Barletta punched him in the eye and someone else hit him from behind.
    According to Bruch, the attack left him with bruised ribs, no feeling in his teeth and lips and an appointment for reconstructive surgery on his now broken eye socket.
    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. Godlewski and arresting officer Szarejko declined further comment on the case. Castleton Police Chief Bruce Sherwin could not be reached for comment.
    Bruch said he could not identify the others who were with Barletta nor would he identify the friend he went to help. He said the friend received one punch before fleeing and seeking his help.
    “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,” said Bruch.
    Bruch said he is satisfied with how the investigation is being handled.
    “They [the school and police], did get one kid within 24 hours of my beating so that really speaks to their ability to seek justice,” said Bruch.
    Jeff Weld, director of college relations and sports information, issued a brief statement to The Spartan late Friday.
    “The college is working with law enforcement officials as they conduct an investigation into the early morning events of January 27,” he said in an email. “One of the individuals alleged to have been involved with the incident was arrested and is no longer at Castleton.”
    Despite his injuries, Bruch said he would do it all over again because, “I’d rather do that that let my one friend get gang beat. Broken bones heal, bad character doesn’t.”
    Despite two phone messages, Barletta was unable to be reached for comment.
Spartan reporters Courtney Parker and Molly DeMellier contributed to this report.

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