Sam Buckley (COL ’14) and Eric Pilch (COL ’12) — suspects in the damaging of several fourth-floor Leavey Center offices early Sunday morning — have been charged with two misdemeanors of destruction of property under $1,000 and unlawful entry, according to court records. John Flanagan (SFS ’14), the third suspect, was also charged with the destruction of property under $1,000.

Flanagan is recovering from a broken leg, an injury sustained when he exited a window on the fourth floor of Leavey and dropped two stories to the outcropping overhang below.

All three pled not guilty to the charges and asserted their rights to a trial. They will appear in court on Sept. 21.

At around 1 a.m. on Sunday, Buckley, Flanagan and Pilch were on the Leavey Esplanade to report on the loosened shingles of the science center when DPS officers asked them to leave the area. Flanagan and Buckley serve as two of the three co-editors of The Voice’s blog, Vox Populi. Pilch is listed as a staff member of The Voice on The Voice’s website’s masthead.

At the time on Sunday morning, university officials were worried that the loosened metal shingles could become dangerous projectiles as Hurricane Irene raged and had ordered DPS to secure the perimeter.

After the officers asked the students to leave the area, the suspects fled to the fourth floor of Leavey and into The Voice office. According to DPS Associate Director Joseph Smith, despite repeated requests for them to surrender, the students attempted to escape by climbing into the adjacent offices. The Metropolitan Police Department was called as one DPS officer went to recover keys to the office.

According to Smith, it ultimately became a matter of time before the group surrendered, as the officers could hear the suspects climbing through the ceiling.

“There really was no way to get out,” he said.

Pilch and Buckley surrendered to the police, but Flanagan was found on the outcropping after exiting through a fourth-floor window.

The misdemeanor offense of destruction of property valued over $200 can carry fines of up to $5,000 and/or jail time of up to 10 years. The charge of unlawful entry carries a fine under $1,000 and/or imprisonment for no more than 180 days.

The Student Code of Conduct categorizes such an offense as a Class B violation, which can result in moderate to serious level violations.

First-time violations of the code include sanctions ranging from housing relocation, housing probation, apartment living suspension or housing suspension to possible disciplinary probation or disciplinary suspension for up to two years.

“Category B violations may result in the most severe sanctions when warranted by the nature of the violation or the student’s prior record,” the code states.

Tim Shine (MSB ’12), the editor-in-chief of The Voice, released a statement on the matter today.

“This case is an ongoing legal and disciplinary matter, and rest assured that The Voice board is in the process of considering its full extent of internal disciplinary options for those involved, including removal from the paper,” he wrote on Vox Populi. “We regret that the independent actions of two Voice staffers have adversely affected our fellow organizations on the fourth floor of the Leavey Center.”

Shine went on to say that The Voice would not publish as usual this week.

“In addition to the serious repairs that will be required to our office space, the Voice will also not be able to publish an issue this week as a result of the incident.”

On Thursday, Shine confirmed that The Voice would be publishing an issue next week, however.

“We’ve yet to receive notification of any official disciplinary action,” he added.

Director of Student Programs Erika Cohen-Derr stated that there has been no official suspension of The Voice.

“There have been no disciplinary complaints filed at this moment,” Cohen-Derr said at 1:30 p.m. today.

As for the repairs to the offices affected, Cohen-Derr stated that it was the Center for Student Programs’ priority to get the spaces back to working condition.

Original maintenance estimates by workmen visiting The Hoya’s office stated that the entire ceiling would cost less to replace rather than fixing the area affected.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*