By Stephanie Reitz, Associated Press Writer
Three lacrosse players for a Catholic university in New England have been charged with conspiring to sexually assault a female student in a dorm room.
A lawyer for one of the men said any accusations that a sexual assault occurred in the Sacred Heart University dorm were a gross exaggeration of alcohol-fueled hijinks.
Wayne Keeney said his client, 19-year-old Timothy Sanders of Ashburn, Va., was having consensual sex with an 18-year-old woman when two 18-year-old teammates, Nicholas Travers of Smithtown, and Zachari Triner of Marshfield, Mass., sneaked in as a prank.
Neither Travers nor Triner had sexual contact with the woman, Keeney said. He said that alcohol was involved and that the woman didn’t know the two men had entered the room.
All three men were charged Sunday with conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault, according to a Connecticut court Web site. Sanders also is charged with unlawful restraint. Police and prosecutors didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.
“The police report itself is so confusing,” Keeney said. “The whole thing just doesn’t ring true.”
Attorneys for Travers and Triner declined to comment Tuesday. Lacrosse coach Tom Mariano didn’t return a message.
Sacred Heart University released a statement saying that privacy laws prohibit commenting on specific students but that school policy calls for automatic suspensions when such accusations are made.
Keeney said all three have been suspended from school and the lacrosse team.
“I can appreciate that this young woman was put in an embarrassing set of circumstances through some sophomoric, college-boy antics, but there’s no indication from what I can see or discern so far that there was any sexual assault there,” Keeney said.
The team opens its 2010 season Feb. 12 against Massachusetts.
Associated Press writers David Collins and Susan Haigh in Hartford contributed to this report.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.