Last charge against college student droppedBy Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | March 21,2013Rutland County prosecutors have dropped the remaining charge against a Castleton State College student who complained at the end of the case that police and campus security rushed to judgment when he was arrested and charged with assaulting two students.
Last month, prosecutors dropped one of the charges — a felony aggravated assault charge — against Douglas D. Krouse Jr., 21, after another CSC student, Sean M. Mowry, allegedly admitted to participating in an assault against Nicholas Bruch, 18, near the Rail Trail on campus at the end of January.
The remaining misdemeanor simple assault charge against Krouse was dismissed Tuesday — days before a court hearing to review probable cause for the charge.
The reason why prosecutors dismissed the charge is unclear. In a notice filed in Rutland criminal court, State’s Attorney Marc Brierre wrote only that the charge was dismissed without prejudice “due to further investigation.”
Calls to the deputy prosecutor handling the case were not returned.
Krouse’s defense attorney, Matt Branchaud, said in an interview Tuesday the second assault victim, Joshua Mannings, 19, had recanted his assertion that Krouse punched him in the face during the early morning hours of Jan. 27.
“The lesson learned here is that eyewitnesses can’t be trusted without some evidence to support them,” Branchaud said. “This case was every parent’s worst nightmare. They sent their son out of state to college and he was jailed, charged with a crime and almost expelled for something he didn’t do.”
CSC officials allowed Krouse to return to campus and dismissed a disciplinary case against him last month.
But the guard on the Spartans men’s basketball team wrote in a statement delivered by his lawyer that he was deeply troubled by the treatment he received from college and police officials.
Krouse wrote that he was “disappointed that the (CSC) Public Safety Department and Castleton Police did not fully investigate the case before accusing and arresting me.”
“I told them I had no knowledge of the assault and was not involved,” Krouse wrote. “The head coach told them I was not involved in the fight. They did not believe me and pressed me to admit my guilt.”
He continued: “They did nothing to look into my alibi even though I was with other people all night. They should have taken the time to properly sort out the facts by gathering evidence that supported the eyewitness statements.”
Krouse was charged after Bruch and Mannings told police they were “100 percent sure” he was involved in both assaults.
But the evidence in the case changed in early February after Mowry allegedly confessed. Castleton Police said they were led to Mowry after two students reported that Christopher B. Barletta — a 20-year-old CSC student charged in both assaults — told them that he and Mowry were involved in the beating near the Rail Trail.
In a subsequent interview with police, Mowry allegedly confessed to assaulting Bruch, but said he had no part in assaulting Mannings.
Castleton Police Chief Bruce Sherwin could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
CSC spokesman Jeff Weld also declined to comment, other than to say that the college was “pleased that the charges against Doug have been dropped.”
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