One of the defendants in an incident at a September 2012 teen drinking party intends to plead guilty to new charges relating to events at that party, his lawyer said this week.
Anthony Resetarits, 22, faces felony charges of first-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with felony evidence. He and his brother, Joseph Resetarits, 20, also were charged with one count each of second-degree harassment, a misdemeanor. Anthony Resetarits also faces a second misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
He will plead guilty to all those charges, said his Anchorage lawyer, Phillip Weidner.
The Alaska Department of Law filed the new charges on Dec. 24 against the two brothers suspected to be involved in the harassment of a teenage boy at a September 2012 East End Road teenage drinking party.
The new charges came about after several months of discussions and negotiations with the defendants and their lawyers, the victim and his family, the Office of Victims Rights and the Alaska State Troopers, Assistant District Attorney Paul Miovas said in a telephone interview last week.
“That’s the by-product of two months, a lot of work behind the scenes with the Office of Victims Rights, and meetings with the defense counsel,” Miovas said. “I want to make the public understand we did all of this while coordinating with the victim and the victim’s mother. … We made sure we informed them every step of the way.”
The Resetarits brothers had previously been indicted with second-degree sexual assault, but those charges were dismissed in August by Kenai Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman after Michael Moberly, Joseph Resetarits’ lawyer, filed a motion arguing that the state provided insufficient evidence to support an indictment and that hearsay evidence presented prejudiced the grand jury hearing.
Weidner said his client was innocent of that dismissed charge.
“Anthony Resetarits never assaulted nor sexually assaulted anyone. He committed no sexual offenses. He has always been willing to accept responsibility for his culpable conduct, which conduct as noted did not include any sexual offenses,” Weidner said.
In charging documents filed in October 2012, Alaska State Troopers said that a teenage boy then 17 had been sexually assaulted with an object at a Sept. 8, 2012, party at an East End Road home. About 60 to 80 teenagers and young adults attended the party, some of them members of the Homer High School Mariners football team, including Joseph Resetarits. Fourteen student athletes who were at the party were suspended for violating Kenai Peninsula Borough School District rules for being at a party where alcohol was served.
The victim had passed out drunk and had his head and eyebrows shaved, including an “M” for “Mariners” shaved into his hair. People also wrote on him with markers. Troopers learned of the assault after his friends took the boy to his mother and she took him to South Peninsula Hospital and nurses reported the assault.
When he dismissed the original sexual assault charges against the Resetarits brothers, Bauman made a point of saying that the boy was a victim.
“I say victim because I believe there’s a victim,” Bauman said in August. “It’s not an alleged victim, it’s a victim — which is not to say who is responsible for that victim, but there’s clearly a victim in the court’s view.”
In his decision, Bauman also mentioned the grand jury testimony of a nurse who treated the victim. The nurse said that the boy’s injuries were consistent with an assault, the judge wrote.
In the new charging documents filed by Miovas, prosecutors now allege that Anthony Resetarits harassed the boy. At the party, the unconscious boy was harassed for about three hours by other people at the party, and party-goers encouraged the harassment and photographed it, Miovas wrote. That harassment escalated and ended with one or more people sexually assaulting, attempting to sexually assault or mimicking sexually assaulting the boy with an object.
Prosecutors said witnesses reported photographs and a video had been taken of the incident, but troopers only recovered one photograph directly associated with the Resetarits brothers of them posing with the object next to the boy.
Miovas also wrote that after seizing phones, troopers did not find photographic evidence supporting statements by witnesses claiming Anthony Resetarits and two other boys, one 18 and one 16, were responsible for the assault. Witness statements later proved to be unreliable, Miovas added.
“Due partially to intoxication, some of the witnesses’ accounts of the incident have been slightly unclear, and many of the witnesses ultimately confessed that they had not been forthright or had actively lied to the investigators,” Miovas wrote.
The new charging documents name a then 18-year-old male not previously identified with the case, but Miovas said he will not be charged. He also was a Mariner football player.
Miovas said no other charges are anticipated to be filed against any other suspects or persons involved.
In October 2012, a 16-year-old boy was charged with second-degree sexual assault and referred to the Office of Juvenile Justice. His lawyer, Joseph Skrha, said he could not comment on the case except to say his client is innocent. Juvenile proceedings are confidential and the results will not be publicly released.
The latest charging documents also claim that Anthony Resetarits destroyed or encouraged others to destroy evidence.
“When the defendants and the other party goers found out that the incident had been reported to the troopers and was being investigated as a sexual assault, many of them began to destroy evidence they had of the crime,” Mioavas wrote.
Miovas wrote that Anthony Resetarits admitted he had a photograph on his cell phone of the victim passed out with him and Joseph Resetarits posing, but when he found out troopers were investigating, he deleted the photograph.
Miovas is the supervisor of the sexual assault unit with the Alaska Department of Law Criminal Division. When the indictment against the Resetarits brothers was dismissed, the Department of Law asked Miovas to take over the case.
Miovas said he anticipates Joseph Resetarits also will plead guilty to the harassment charge. His lawyer, Michael Moberly, did not return calls seeking comment on the new charges. Miovas said he did not think it’s anticipated that Joseph Resetarits would be serving any jail time.
On the two class C felonies Anthony Resetarits faces, Miovas said that for someone like him with no prior record, the jail sentence on each count could be between zero and two years in jail. Jail time could run concurrently or consecutively, and it is up to the sentencing judge to determine the penalties.
No arraignment has been set yet for the Resetarits brothers.
Miovas said that the arraignment and sentencing will be open proceedings and when that happens more information will be available.
“I think from the public’s perspective and the media’s perspective there will be more transparency about the evidence we have and what happened that night,” Miovas said.
When the sentencing hearing comes, Anthony Resetarits intends to apologize, Weidner said.
“He has always been willing to apologize and will apologize to the victim, the victim’s family and the public,” he said. “Anthony’s conduct was a product of partial intoxication and his youthful indiscretion,” Weidner said.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.