TORRINGTON, Connecticut | DMN — A pair of high school footballers in Connecticut have been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, just days after two star players in Steubenville, Ohio, were convicted of rape in a case that shook the nation. Torrington High School football players Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, both 18, are accused of felony second-degree sexual assault and other crimes in an investigation that began last month. Both have pleaded not guilty. Since the alleged abuse, the young victim, who hasn’t been named, has been taunted on social media sites by dozens of classmates who are upset at the claims against the football stars.
The victim has been called a ‘whore,’ criticized for ‘snitching’ and blamed for ‘ruining’ the players’ lives. One Twitter user wrote: ‘Young girls acting like whores there’s no punishment for that young boys acting like boys is a sentence.’ After The Register Citizen published his tweet, the same user said on Twitter that he ‘would tweet the same exact thing about what happened in Ohio, not that the girls aren’t victims my point is.’ Another bully tweeted: ‘Even if it was all his fault, what was a 13-year-old girl doing hanging around 18 year old guys..’ The tweet was re-posted 11 times and received six favorites. Details of the Connecticut allegations have been sealed from public view.
The case mirrors one in Steubenville, where two football players were convicted this week of raping a girl who was later threatened online. Four other Torrington football players were also suspended after being embroiled in a hazing scandal last fall that is still under investigation, according to the Citizen. The newspaper reports that one of the players was allowed to play even though the coach knew he was facing charges of felony robbery and assault. Torrington athletics director has insisted the incidents are isolated. Athletic Director Mike McKenna told the Citizen: ‘If you think there’s some wild band of athletes that are wandering around then I think you’re mistaken.’
In Steubenville, head coach Reno Saccoccia may face charges for his failure to report the shocking rape by quarterback Trent Mays, 17, and wide receiver Ma’lik Richmond, 16. He allegedly told the two star players that he’d ‘make it go away,’ referring to the allegations, rather than telling police. Both cases have raised questions about the football culture in local high schools. A comment on the Citizen’s story reads: ‘The power of the football team. Be a good athlete and you can do no wrong.’ The victim in the Ohio case has been viciously tormented on social media by other teens. Yesterday it emerged that two girls, aged 15 and 16, who are facing charges for allegedly issuing death threats to the girl will stay in custody pending trial to protect the victim.