Volleyball player sophomore Sarah Dewey appeared at Geneseo Village Court on Tuesday Feb. 12 to file a motion for dismissal of the Class-A Misdemeanor charges in association with the September 2012 volleyball team hazing incident. Following the judge’s rejection of the motion, the case is expected to go to trial.
Dewey was one of 11 students charged with unlawfully dealing with a child and hazing in the first degree. Though eight of the 11 women accepted the plea bargain for adjournment and contemplation of dismissal offered by Livingston County District Attorney Greg McCaffrey, Dewey pled not guilty on Nov. 13.
Village Judge Thomas C. Bushnell presided over the proposal and began the proceedings by inviting McCaffrey, defense attorney Michael Trosset and Dewey to the front.
Trosset began by asserting that Dewey was treated “like the other freshmen” on the volleyball team at the initiation party and that she “did not participate in planning” the hazing. He also said that Dewey was “unaware of what would be happening” at the party. Trosset then asked for the charges against Dewey to be dismissed.
In response, McCaffrey recommended that Bushnell reject the dismissal of charges.
“This hazing was a very serious offense that nearly led to the death of a Geneseo student,” he said.
McCaffrey requested a trial of Dewey’s case in front of a jury.
“I will personally try this case and I will subpoena all the young women involved to determine [Dewey’s] involvement in the hazing,” he said.
McCaffrey said that dismissing the charges against Dewey would be “telling the other girls that what they did was okay.”
McCaffrey also said that because the hazing incident was such an important issue to Geneseo, the community would “lose faith in the justice system if one of the girls would get off.”
Trosset responded that Dewey cooperated with the school and the police throughout the investigation and that, since the incident, she has educated herself about the impact of alcohol by attending an alcohol awareness clinic.
“To proceed against her would be to act against justice,” Trosset said. “If you are innocent you should be able to fight for your innocence.”
When McCaffrey and Trosset were finished presenting their arguments, Bushnell announced his decision on the motion to dismiss. Bushnell said he agreed with McCaffrey, denying the dismissal of charges and officially sending the case to trial.
Trosset said he will be stepping down as Dewey’s defense attorney due to a conflict of interest related to his legal representation of Dewey’s teammate, sophomore Carissa Gagliardi, who will be called on to testify during Dewey’s trial.