Joseph Resetarits attends a bail hearing Monday at the Homer Courthouse. The hearing was continued to Tuesday. -Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Joseph Resetarits attends a bail hearing Monday at the Homer Courthouse. The hearing was continued to Tuesday. -Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Resetarits brothers released on bail

The two brothers charged with sexual assault of a drunk boy at a Sept. 8 East End Road teen drinking party were released from jail Tuesday and Wednesday. Joseph Resetarits, 18, left the Homer Jail Tuesday in the custody of his father, Douglas Resetarits. His brother, Anthony Resetarits, was released from the Anchorage Jail on Wednesday and into the custody of his mother, Maria Santa Lucia.

In a crowded court hearing on Tuesday afternoon, Judge Margaret Murphy set bail conditions for the brothers. For each man, bail was set at a cash performance bond of $5,000 with a 24-hour sight and sound third party custodian. Anthony will stay with his mother at a friend’s home on the Homer Spit or in Sterling, and Joseph will stay with his father at his Fairview Avenue home. Santa Lucia runs a bed and breakfast and an assisted living home in Homer, but she will not stay at those businesses with Anthony. Murphy also approved alternate custodians.

The brothers were arrested last Thursday in Anchorage and Homer and charged with one count each of second-degree sexual assault, penetration of an incapacitated person. In charging documents, Alaska State Troopers allege that at a large drinking party they used an object to sexually assault an extremely drunk 17-year-old boy.

If convicted, the men face from 5 to 15 years each in jail.

Wearing handcuffs and leg restraints, and dressed in a Homer Mariners football team hooded sweatshirt with his family name on the back, Joseph Resetarits attended the bail hearing Tuesday. Anthony Resetarits attended by telephone from the Anchorage Jail courtroom.

Both parents, family friends and alternate custodians also attended, as did Homer High School Principal Allan Gee and representatives from South Peninsula Haven House. The victim’s mother also attended and spoke at the bail hearing. She said her son is out of state.

Joseph Resetarits played this season for the Homer Mariners football team, but was removed from the team the day of his arrest, Gee said last Thursday.

Most of the bail hearing was taken up with Murphy, Assistant District Attorney Kelly Lawson and the brothers’ lawyers interviewing potential third-party custodians about their ability and willingness to make sure the brothers show up at hearings and comply with conditions of bail. Bill Taylor, a public defender, represents Joseph Resetarits and Phillip Weidner, an Anchorage criminal defense attorney who has worked many high-profile cases, represents Anthony Resetarits.

To make sure the third-party custodians understood the seriousness of the charges, Lawson asked that they read an affidavit by Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Jeremy Stone. Except for Santa Lucia, none of them had read the affidavit.

The parents and third-party custodians said the brothers had strong ties to the community with no prior criminal history. 

Because the brothers are codefendants, Lawson asked that they have no contact with each other. She also asked that they not use the internet and cell phones, and, because the case remains under investigation and many potential witnesses who might be high school students haven’t been identified, the brothers be prohibited from going to Homer High School and contacting high school students. Murphy granted those conditions, except to allow the defendants to use the internet for school purposes.

Taylor protested that those conditions were harsh, particularly separating the brothers during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. That prompted a reply from the victim’s mother, who was allowed to state her concerns about bail conditions. 

Her family also is broken up, she said, with her son out of state with her daughter. 

“My family is separated during the holidays,” she said. 

“This is a high profile type case affecting the community of Homer greatly,” Lawson said in arguing for the restrictive bail conditions of no web use or contact between the brothers.

The mother also said the condition of no internet use was appropriate.

“There are already a ton of things said on Facebook,” she said.

People also have been commenting on newspaper sites, the mother said. 

The mother said she read online that some people said it didn’t matter what happened to her son because he didn’t go to Homer High and had graduated from a school in California.

“He didn’t like what was going on at Homer High School,” the mother said. “Apparently these boys have some kind of pull in this community if they (other students) didn’t stand up to what they were doing.”

In all, Judge Murphy ordered these conditions for release on bail for both men:

• No contact with the victim or his family;

• No contact with Homer High School students or at the school;

• No unmonitored use of cell phones;

• No unmonitored use of the Web. Joseph Resetarits can use the web for home schooling purposes;

• No contact between the two brothers;

• The two cannot consume alcohol and alcohol cannot be present in the homes;

• They cannot leave Alaska without the permission of the court.

At one point in the hearing, Lawson asked that all the third-party custodians read the charging documents to understand the seriousness of the charges. Except for Santa Lucia, none of the potential custodians had done so at the time.

In closing comments, Murphy defended the conditions of limiting access to the web, cell phones and potential witnesses.

“We are taking this as a very serious offense by both parties,” she said. “They are very serious allegations. It needs to be treated as such.”

According to a criminal complaint filed in Homer Court by Sgt. Stone last week, on Sept. 10 troopers received a report from a South Peninsula Hospital nurse that a 17-year-old boy had been sexually assaulted at a large juvenile drinking party Sept. 8 and early Sept. 9 at an East End Road home.

The hospital follows state law mandating a report to the Office of Children’s Services or police when staff see child patients suspected to be victims of physical or sexual abuse, said Derotha Ferraro, a spokesperson for SPH. The hospital also has its own policies to refer such patients to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. 

The boy arrived at the party about 10 p.m. Sept. 8 and eventually passed out on a couch in the living room.

The father of the boy who started the party and the owner of the home where it happened told troopers he went to sleep in his bedroom near to the living room before the party started and did not know any juveniles drank alcohol until the next morning when he found alcohol containers. The party grew from a few invited friends to about 60 to 80 people, including members of the Homer High School Mariners football team, members of other Homer High teams, Homer High alumni and other people.

Fourteen Homer High School student athletes who were at the party were suspended from activities the week of Sept. 10 for violating Alaska Student Activities Association rules for being at a party where alcohol was served. 

Troopers allege that while the boy was passed out, multiple people wrote on his body with a marker while others took videos and photographs and that Anthony Resetarits shaved an “M” into the boy’s hair. 

Another boy tried to wake up the drunk boy, but he remained unresponsive.

After Anthony Resetarits shaved the boy’s head, people around the drunk boy shouted out suggestions about what to do next. An unidentified person suggested an obscene act. Anthony Resetarits sexually assaulted the boy with an object, with Joseph Resetarits also participating, Stone wrote in the complaint.

Troopers recovered multiple photographs taken at the party, including one of two men sexually assaulting the boy. The boy who took the photo identified the Resetarits brothers as the men in the photo, Stone wrote.

The party broke up shortly after the incident and the unconscious boy was taken to his mother.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

 

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