THIRD student charged and more arrests likely in ‘Steubenville II’ rape case as community turns on bullies who labelled 13-year-old victims ‘whores’ and ‘hoes’
- A 17-year-old Torrington High School student was charged on March 4 with sexually assaulting at least one 13-year-old girl last fall
- He hasn’t been named due to his age and will be tried in juvenile court
- Football players Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, both 18, were charged last month with felony second-degree sexual assault and other crimes
- All three arrests concern two 13-year-old girls who have been viciously taunted on social media by dozens of classmates since the allegations came out
- Charges come just days after two star players in Steubenville, Ohio, were convicted of rape in a case that shook the nation
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A third student at Torrington High School has been charged with sexually assaulting at least one 13-year-old girl, as police warned the disturbed Connecticut community to brace for more arrests.
Mirroring the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, which wrapped up this week, two hot-shot football players, Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, are facing charges of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor after each allegedly had sex with a separate 13-year-old girl on February 10.
The pair were arrested late last month, but detectives revealed yesterday that another boy, a 17-year-old, was arrested on March 4, in connection with an incident last fall that involved the same underage girls.
Hazing: Gonzalez, pictured center, was charged in a March 2012 alleged felony robbery that Toribio, left, wasn’t embroiled in it appears
All three boys have been suspended from school, pending expulsion.
The alleged victims, however, continue to attend classes while being the subject of horrific social media slurs from fellow students since the allegations against the footballers were made public.
The girls have been labeled ‘whores,’ ‘hoes,’ and ‘snitches’ in tweets, that have been reposted by scores of teenagers. One Twitter user excused the shocking alleged rape as boys ‘acting like boys’ and said he’d tweet the ‘exact same thing about what happened in Ohio.’
Torrington police revealed yesterday at a press conference that family members reported the alleged abuse the day after it is believed to have taken place.
The 17-year-old suspect is considered a minor and his case was referred to juvenile court. No details of the allegations have been released.
Lt. Michael Emanuel said there were ‘possibly’ more arrests coming.
‘It’s very complex, but (the case is) under control,’ Emanuel said.
Insisting that he was ‘not minimizing this,’ he stressed that the 13-year-olds knew the accused. He said the incidents are being investigated as sexual assaults because of the significant age gap between the alleged victims and the older boys.
Accused: Torrington High School football players Edgar Gonzalez, pictured left, and Joan Toribio, right. both 18, are accused of felony second-degree sexual assault and other crimes
‘It was consensual in the sense that it was not an attack but not consensual in the eyes of the law,’ Emanuel said at the news conference.
Toribio was initially charged last month with three felonies including second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child, and risk of injury to a minor (sexual contact).
But on March 4 he was charged again with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child in connection with an incident that took place earlier that same day.
He has pleaded not guilty and has posted $100,000 bail.
His friend, Gonzalez, who was named Most Valuable Player, was charged with second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child, and risk of injury to a child (sexual contact) in the February 10 incidents. He has also pleaded not guilty and remains on $65,000 bail at the New Haven Correctional Center.
Torrington High School athletics director Mike McKenna has been criticized for minimizing the alleged assaults, suggesting they are the type of thing that happen ‘anywhere.’
‘Much like anywhere, there are kids that get in trouble, kids that do dumb things and get in trouble, sometimes bad trouble,’ he said yesterday, according to the .
Valuable: Edgar Gonzalez, pictured, was voted Most Valuable Player
Isolated: Torrington athletics director has insisted the incidents are isolated and not indicative of a sordid culture within the football team
, which broke the story, named and shamed the classmates who bullied the alleged victims on social media.
Today the newspaper defended this decision, claiming that publishing their identities gave the country a taste of how ‘horrifying and uncomfortable’ the past few weeks have been for the 13-year-old girls.
‘Vaguely summarizing this kind of bullying, identities protected, would have allowed the school district to continue to ignore the problem and the community to assume that it was ‘someone else’s kid,’ group editor Matt DeRienzo said in an.
‘But the fact is that «good kids,» from «good homes,» honor roll students, athletes, male, female, participated in this stuff, and showed a fundamental and staggeringly dangerous misunderstanding about rape, consent and how to treat other people.’
Many of the bullies had made their Twitter accounts private or deleted them by mid morning.
Police said at the conference that they weren’t aware of the nasty tweets until detectives read them in the Citizen on Wednesday but would investigate them.
‘We don’t have any information on that (bullying),’ Emanuel said. ‘Of course if there is any information we’d like to bring it forward and our detectives would like to take a look at that.’
The news of the alleged sexual assault yesterday came just days after two star football players in Steubenville were convicted of rape in a case that shook the nation.
As well as being called a ‘whore’ and criticized for ‘snitching’ the 13-year-olds have been blamed for ‘ruining’ the lives of the popular players.
Bullying: The victim has been called a ‘whore,’ criticized for ‘snitching’ and blamed her for ‘ruining’ the players’ lives
Twitter: The 13-year-old has been targeted by dozens of Torrington classmates who are angry about the allegations
Ohio: The case mirrors one in Steubenville, where two football players were convicted this week of raping a girl who was later threatened online
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Young girls acting like whores there’s no punishment for that young boys acting like boys is a sentence.’
After The Citizen published his tweet, the same user wrote multiple tweets blaming the girls for getting themselves in that situation before insisting that he ‘would tweet the same exact thing about what happened in Ohio.’
Another bully tweeted: ‘Even if it was all his fault, what was a 13-year-old girl doing hanging around 18 year old guys..’ The tweet was reposted 11 times and received six favorites.
A judge has ordered details of the Connecticut allegations to be sealed from public view. This tends to happen in the state when a case is still under investigation, and when a young victim is involved.
The warrants will remain sealed for 15 days at which point a hearing will be held to decide whether the details will be made public, according to the Citizen.
The truly disturbing case echoes the one in Steubenville, where two football players were convicted this week of raping a girl who was later threatened online.
Gonzalez and three other Torrington football players were also embroiled in a hazing scandal last year but police now say the investigation is closed.
Coach: Athletic Director Mike McKenna said the incidents were not reflective of the culture of the football team
Culture: Both this and the Ohio rape case have raised questions about the football culture in local high schools
Gonzalez was charged in a March 2012 alleged felony robbery after he and three others allegedly jumped three 14-year-olds in search of money.
Jeffrey Holder, 19, a former Torrington High School football player, was also charged but the other two co-conspirators were not identified because of their age. Gonzalez pleaded not guilty in that case.
Former Head Coach Dan Dunaj, who resigned in December, allowed Gonzalez to play in 2012, despite the charges.
He told the Citizen yesterday that he ‘reeled the kid in’ when he became aware of the pending robbery charges against Gonzalez ‘and he walked the line. As a coach I was doing something right.’
Dunaj said, however, that sexual assault charges are a different matter, insisting he would kick the 18-year-old off the team if he were still in the role and Gonzalez had another season ahead of him.
‘My process has always been like this, and I learned this from my high school coach, and I never got into any big trouble, thank God, but if you didn’t give the kid a chance then who’s going to,’ Dunaj told the newspaper.
McKenna insisted the incidents are isolated and not indicative of a sordid culture within the football team.
Bullying: The victim has been bullied on social media after the allegations against Toribio, pictured, and Gonzalez
Sealed: Details of the allegations against the two friends have been sealed from public view
‘If you think there’s some wild band of athletes that are wandering around then I think you’re mistaken,’ he told the Citizen.
According to McKenna, a student athlete would be suspended from play for a ‘serious infraction.’ However, he couldn’t say whether a felony or a misdemeanor would be enough.
He told the newspaper that he personally considered a violent felony worthy of a suspension.
In Steubenville, head coach Reno Saccoccia may face charges for his failure to report the shocking rape by quarterback Trent Mays, 17, and wide receiver Ma’lik Richmond, 16.
He allegedly told the two star players that he’d ‘make it go away,’ referring to the allegations, rather than telling police.
Both cases have raised questions about the football culture in local high schools.
A comment on the Citizen’s story reads: ‘The power of the football team. Be a good athlete and you can do no wrong.’
Scores of MailOnline readers voiced similar opinions after our original story was published yesterday.
The victim in the Ohio case has been viciously tormented on social media by other teens.
Yesterday it emerged that two girls, aged 15 and 16, who are facing charges for allegedly issuing death threats to the girl will stay in custody pending trial to protect the victim.
Toribio is scheduled to be in court April 23. Gonzalez is scheduled to be back in court on April 2.