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Geneseo students face sexual assault charges

by brockportnews
Tue, Sep 25th 2018 10:00 pm

Two Geneseo students are now facing criminal charges after preventing a female student from leaving their home and touching her inappropriately. 

Juniors Nicholas French and Mitchell Virkler are in the hot seat after being charged with class A misdemeanors. They were being charged with forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment on Thursday, Sept. 13. 

According to Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian, the alleged incident took place on Saturday, Sept. 8 at around 1:30 a.m. at 68 Court St. in the Geneseo village, known to many as the “lacrosse house.” French is a member of the varsity lacrosse team at the college.

According to The Lamron, SUNY Geneseo’s college newspaper, the two were arraigned on Friday, Sept. 14 and were each released on a $500 bail. 

Based on an anonymous report from a friend of the victim, the two men were extremely intoxicated and disoriented. When the female student decided to help them home because they were belligerently drunk, things started to go wrong.

“They got back to the address on Court Street, one starts inappropriately touching her – specifically, the charge mentions her buttocks,” Osganian said. “The other one is kind of blocking the door – they gave her a hard time leaving.”

Virkler is accused of being the one engaged in the assault, while French held her wrist tightly, not allowing her to leave. The two had an entirely different story and told police the alleged victim left unhindered and of her own accord. 

“Her version is she kind of escaped out of there,” Osganian said. “I think she felt like she was trapped obviously, and very uncomfortable with two men in a room.”

As stated by The Livingston County News, Osganian said his department was notified of the incident by SUNY Geneseo’s University Police Department, which was notified through its online “Silent Witness” reporting form. After the friend of the victim filled the form out, the police department reached out to the victim herself, which put the investigation and charges in motion. 

“We had a conversation with the victim and her parents and they decided which way to go,” Osganian said.

As stated in The Lamron, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio let on that the college was partaking in its own investigation.

“The Village police is investigating them and so is the College Title IX Coordinator,” Bonfiglio wrote in an email. “At that point, we will have a better idea of the next steps in the process.”

Students on the campus have publicly shared their disgust for the situation, and the importance of not letting situations like this go without consequences. Senior Alexis Saunders shared her thoughts. 

“The school never notified the students about the incidents,” Saunders said. “I’m sadly not surprised that it happened.” 

She went on to explain how she found out about the incident on the news, and that this was a recurring issue on many campuses. 

“I personally know some individuals that were assaulted/raped and never came forward because they felt like they didn’t have a strong enough claim,” Saunders said.