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Lacrosse player sues college

Suit alleges negligence by assistant lacrosse coach prior to 2009 assault

By Rebecca Orbach
On October 1, 2010

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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