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Lacrosse player sues college

Suit alleges negligence by assistant lacrosse coach prior to 2009 assault

News Editor

Published: Friday, October 1, 2010

Updated: Monday, October 4, 2010 02:10

Michael Torpe '11 has sued the college, accusing former assistant lacrosse coach, Thomas Trapani, of neglectful behavior while knowing he was in physical danger.

Torpe also sued four Skidmore hockey players, Timothy Welsh ‘10, Steven Keady ‘10, Christopher Crowley ‘10 and Joseph Forstbauer '10, for allegedly invading his home on Church street and gang beating him, sending him to the hospital unconscious, with a concussion and bruises.

Torpe, a Skidmore lacrosse player, filed the civil suit last April in Nassau County State Supreme Court.

The four hockey players allegedly punched and kicked Torpe 35 times on April 26, 2009 after a night at the Caroline street bar, Gaffney's.

The issues between Torpe and the hockey players purportedly began in Feb. 2009 when Welch's girlfriend, Kelsey Thorn '12, allegedly falsely told them that Torpe was stalking her.

The suit reports that Trapini was aware of the hockey players' threats by April 18, 2009, but did not share the information with college officials.

On the night Torpe was attacked, he was with Trapini in Gaffney's and allegedly asked for advice on how to handle the situation as the four hockey players approached him. "The coach replied that ‘he could not help, and that he was on his own,'" the Times Union reported.

In addition to suing the college, Torpe's attorney, Thomas MeDermott, accuses Thorn of putting Torpe in danger, and accuses Gaffney's of serving the four students because of their intoxication before the alleged attack.

Torpe seeks damages for pain and emotional suffering, reported the Times Union article.

The college and Trapani deny any responsibility or accountability for the alleged incident. "We fully expect that this lawsuit will be dismissed," spokeswoman Andrea Wise said to a Times Union reporter.

Torpe currently has an internship in New York City, but will return to the college in January.

The hockey players were charged with felony burglary. Keady and Welsh were indicted on misdemeanor criminal trespass charges and they pleaded guilty to those violations. Crowley and Forstbauer were not indicted.

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8 comments

Anonymous
Sat Oct 9 2010 18:43
*their coach.

Looks like that EN-105 opening is all yours.

Anonymous
Sat Oct 9 2010 17:34
The situation started with a sucker punch from Torpe and continued with harassment, finally escalating into a situation that could have been avoided if Torpe admitted his short comings. Yes, the actions of the four boys was unacceptable and they were reprimanded. Torpe's actions illustrate a greedy kid trying to squeeze as much money out of the situation. Who sues there coach? Really? Then he leaves for the semester, true coward. Also, there were two hockey players, so to just refer to all of the boys as "the hockey boys," shows little understanding, if any, of the situation. Let us not forget that the legal system prevailed and everyone is trying to move on except for Torpe. This reminds me of the lady who sued McDonalds because her coffee was too hot. Grow up and move on because everyone else has. Lastly to the author, maybe EN-105 has an opening.
Anonymous
Tue Oct 5 2010 14:00
Why is it when there is a criminal act...some people choose to slur the victim...the only people responsible for compensating this victim (Torpe) are the actual perpetrators...the goons who chose to break the law and force entry into the victims house and break the law further by assaulting the victim with full intent to injure...if mr torpe were a minority student I dare say a hate crime would have been prosecuted. Also, Mr Trapani should probably not have been socializing anywhere near his students...even if age-wise they are his contemporaries...he unknowingly exposed himself to an unfortunate situation that has now put into question his decsion making/logic on that night...he was, I can only guess, enjoying a night out, and in hindsight, is now being made to look as if he knew what the aforementioned goons were actually going to do on that night... and as a result is being made to appear partially at fault for not preventing the actions of others...imo this does not seem right...but as an employee of Skidmore I would think socializing with students can only create opportunities for trouble...so to now be painted as part of the problem that night is surely unfortunate...is every person present in the bar that night that was aware of the tension and threats now partially responsible as well? As for Skidmore's liability, I just don't see it...off campus crime...employee of Skidmore was not "on the job"...he was on his personal time...hold the real culprits responsible that is my take.
Anonymous
Sun Oct 3 2010 18:21
Where do you have proof that the girl lied. The only legal action here is against the crappy student paper. While were at it, who cares? This is just a money grab by this kid. If he was able to keep playing his sport he didn't suffer as much as we think and by the way, the hockey players were not indited.
Anonymous
Sat Oct 2 2010 20:48
i love the way this lazy author and editor-free newspaper just regurgitate the times union article and show basically no understanding of litigation or legal reporting whatsoever
Anonymous
Sat Oct 2 2010 17:20
Ironic that this article is released at the same time as the one on sexual misconduct and harassment considering that Torpe's own harassment of Thorn is what arguably led to him getting beat up (not that violence should be the answer, but there was wrongdoing on Torpe's part also). The fact that the sexual misconduct was completely omitted from this article is proof of exactly how much the school's policy and outlook will be changing.

Also, to the author-seriously? you have no idea what you're talking about. Work on your research girl and get both sides

Anonymous
Sat Oct 2 2010 01:20
So what, that doesn't give the four hockey players the right to beat the daylight out of the kid and send him to the hospital. Maybe Thorn should of contacted authorities about Torpe, and didn't. At least Torpe was smart and did. Leave the fighting for the ice boys.

And also to the previous comment, maybe you should grow up and show a little compassion for the kid, who was sent to the hospital. I bet you're the type of person that thinks brute force solves everything, right? You must have all the facts and did your homework, and were also right there too, right? Keep your comments to yourself next time.

Anonymous
Sat Oct 2 2010 00:58
"falsely told them that Torpe was stalking her"? yeah right...because Torpe is such a saint...




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