Charges ruled out in St. Paul's video case

Balto. Co. prosecutor says `nothing would be accomplished'

April 19, 2001|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County state's attorney said yesterday her office will not file criminal charges involving the videotape made surreptitiously by a St. Paul's School for Boys lacrosse player of himself having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

"We've completed our investigation, and we're not pursuing any charges," said State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor, explaining that any criminal charges would further traumatize the victim.

The scandal at the private school in Brooklandville broke late last month, after the 16-year-old lacrosse player showed the video to his teammates.

The boy who made the tape, a sophomore, was expelled, and eight players were removed from the junior varsity lacrosse team. About 30 students who viewed the video were suspended for three days, and the school canceled the Crusaders' varsity lacrosse season.

Yesterday, O'Connor would not say what laws might have been violated by making the tape and showing it to others.

"It wasn't a question about whether there were violations of law, it was a question of what would be accomplished by prosecuting those laws, particularly when we're talking about juveniles," she said.

"We would be in the juvenile court system, and we felt that nothing would be accomplished except to further traumatize and therefore victimize this young woman," she said.

O'Connor added that she believes there is nothing her office can do that would more strongly address the problem "than what the school has already done."

A spokeswoman for St. Paul's did not return a telephone call yesterday, and a woman answering the phone in the office of Headmaster Robert W. Hallett said the school would have no comment on O'Connor's decision.

The state's attorney's office had subpoenaed the school for a roster of names and telephone numbers of all the players involved, but when contacted by police, many parents of players said they would allow their sons to speak only with a lawyer present. Two players, according to a parent, did speak to the police with a lawyer present.

Virginia-bound midfielder Jack deVilliers said he and the girl have exchanged several e-mails expressing regret about the incident and support for each other. The girl attends another private school in Baltimore County.

"We've been through a lot, dealing with the media and everything," said deVilliers, an All-Metro player considered to be among the top three midfield recruits nationally. "It's been a good life lesson."

Sun staff writer Lem Satterfield contributed to this article.

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