Fallout From Sexual Assault Case Prompts Town Meeting
Two arrests have been made in a sexual assault case that has caused a lot of community concern in Homer and led to a Thursday night meeting on the subjects of sexual behavior, bullying and alcohol abuse.
Alaska State Troopers report that 20-year-old Anthony Resatarits and his 18-year-old brother Joseph Resatarits – a Homer High School senior – were arrested Thursday in connection with a sexual assault on a 17-year-old boy that occurred at a September 8th house party in Homer. Both suspects were taken into custody without incident and both have been charged with Second Degree Sexual Assault.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Homer Court by Trooper Sergeant Jeremy Stone, the victim was passed out on a couch at the party when several people began writing on him with markers. At some point, Anthony Resatarits shaved an “M” in the boy’s head, according to the complaint, while several other people gathered around, some of them taking pictures and video with their cell phones.
The complaint alleges that soon after shaving the boys head, Anthony Resatarits, with help from his brother, Joseph Resatarits, sexually assaulted the victim with an object.
The complaint says that the party was attended by as many as 80 juveniles. Some of them attempted to wake the victim up during the ordeal but he was unresponsive. The owner of the home was home at the time of the party, the complaint says, but told Troopers he was asleep in an adjacent bedroom and was not aware that the party was going on until the next morning.
Since the incident has come to light, it has set the entire Homer community on edge, spurring outrage from parents and other members of the community. During the same time, the town has been dealing with the unrelated suicide of a 17-year-old student that occurred September 30th.
The recent events led to a community meeting, held at Homer High School Thursday night.
With a heartfelt rendition of "Stand By Me," the Homer High swing choir set a tone of healing for the meeting, which was attended by hundreds of parents, students, faculty and staff of Homer High School.
What happened at the party is not the fault of the 404 students at Homer High, said Homer High School Principal Dr. Allen Gee, who tried to quell many of the rumors that have been floating around Homer in recent weeks. And although a handful of football players did attend the party, Gee said it is also not the fault of the football team.
"This was not a team celebration." said Gee. "It was not the entire football team ... this was not endorsed by coaches or any other school staff."
Fourteen student-athletes were suspended from their sports following the incident, said Gee, in accordance with school district policy.
Trooper Stone said it was possible that more charges would be brought forward as the investigation continues. Asked how alcohol could be at a party attended by juveniles, Stone said that oftentimes, it comes from adults. He suggested the Homer community should take a closer look at its culture surrounding alcohol use.
"I know it's a Homer slogan and it may be blasphemy but ...'a little fishing town with a drinking problem' ... that's kind of a message that gets out to young people ... that the community is kind of bragging about having a drinking problem," said Stone.
Many parents and concerned citizens also testified before the large crowd, in what started off as a tense setting but evolved into a community conversation focused on healing and moving forward.
Representatives from Homer’s dynamic collection of non-profit groups offered services for students and parents affected by the recent tragedy, and offered a way forward for the community.
Among the last to address the crowd was student body president Katie Kirsis, who reminded everyone of Homer High School’s many accomplishments, including recent successes for the DDF, cross country, soccer and football teams.