Students Spared Trial
Published: Friday, September 23, 2011
Updated: Friday, September 23, 2011 02:09
Three students accused of destroying office ceilings in the Leavey Center last month signed a prosecution agreement Wednesday morning that will prevent their case from going to trial.
The students, Sam Buckley (COL '14), John Flanagan (SFS '14) and Eric Pilch (COL '12), were charged with the destruction of property less than $1,000; Buckley and Pilch were also each charged with a misdemeanor of unlawful entry.
Chief Judge Rufus King III, who presided over the preliminary hearing, determined that the case would not go to a full criminal trial.
King scheduled the diversion status hearing for Jan. 25, allowing the case to be settled outside the court and giving the defendants a four-month probationary period.
Buckley, Flanagan and Pilch had previously pleaded not guilty of all charges.
The prosecution alleged that the defendants attempted to evade Department of Public Safety officers on Aug. 28 by crawling through the drop ceiling in The Georgetown Voice's office on the fourth floor of the Leavey Center. The Hoya reported on Sept. 20 that the trio caused over $4,000 in repair expenses. The trio gained access to The Voice's office through a punch code, as Buckley and Flanagan were Voice staffers at the time.
During the assigned probation period, the students must follow the established diversion program while demonstrating good behavior. The criteria of the specific diversion program was not publicly available.
The defendants were also notified that failure to appear in court on Jan. 25 would result in the issuing of a bench warrant, a type of arrest warrant issued by the court when a defendant fails to comply with a court order or requirement.
King warned the defendants of the possible repercussions of failing to maintain good behavior.
"For the three of you, this is going to be a little unusual because you're used to probably occasionally breaking the rules and sliding a little bit, but in this case you can't break the rules," he said. "If you don't do exactly what they require of you, this [agreement] falls apart and you go to trial."