The Alaska Department of Law last week filed new charges against two brothers suspected to be involved in the assault of a teenage boy at a September 2012 Homer teenage drinking party.
In documents filed Dec. 24 at the Homer Courthouse, Anthony Resetarits, 22, now 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.
The men have not been arrested and no court arraignment has been set.
Both men 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.
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, many of them members of the Homer High School Mariners football team, including Joseph Resetarits. The victim had passed out drunk and had his head and eyebrows shaved. People also wrote on him with markers. Troopers learned of the assault when the boy’s mother took him to South Peninsula Hospital and nurses reported the assault.
When he dismissed the original sexual assault charges for 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 then. “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 Assistant District Attorney Paul Miovas, prosecutors now allege that Anthony Resetarits harassed the boy. 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, a male then 18 and a boy then 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 as of Monday that man has not yet been charged. That person also was a Mariner football player. In October 2012, the boy then age 16 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.
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.
Messages were left with Anthony Resetarits’ lawyer, Phillip Weidner, seeking comments, but his office is closed until Jan. 5. Moberly, Joseph Resetarits’ lawyer, also was asked for comment, but a receptionist said he was not available.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.