A Yale College graduate pleaded no contest last week to charges he sexually assaulted a freshman following a naked party.
Tiberio Frisoli ’02 received a one-year suspended sentence and two years probation in New Haven Superior Court Wednesday, according to court documents. He will not serve any time in prison, provided he does not violate his parole.
Frisoli was a Morse College freshman counselor at the time of his arrest on May 6, 2002. Though Frisoli was not a counselor of the victim, prosecutor Christopher Alexy said his position made the crime especially egregious.
“[The victim] trusted Frisoli to take her back to her dorm and make sure she was safe,” Alexy said.
Alexy said the victim — whose identity was sealed by the court — was given a drugged drink at a naked party on Crown Street on April 21, 2002. When she began to feel disoriented, Frisoli offered to take her back to her room in Lanman-Wright Hall, where he assaulted her, Alexy said.
Contacted at home in New Jersey, Frisoli refused to answer specific questions about the incident or last week’s hearing.
“I never believed anything I did was against the complaintant’s will,” Frisoli said.
Alexi said the prosecution did not contend that Frisoli drugged the victim himself, calling him “an opportunist.”
Frisoli’s no contest plea to sexual assault in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor, spared him from facing additional charges of sexual assault in the first and second degrees in court. Jury selection had already taken place in the case and trial was scheduled to begin last Thursday.
William Dow, Frisoli’s attorney, said he and his client decided the plea was preferable to a trial.
“A plea of no contest does not constitute an admission of guilt, but it does avoid any risk of conviction and incarceration for felonies,” Dow said.
Alexy said he offered the plea bargain after consulting with the victim.
“She wanted him to admit his responsibility as to what he’d done,” Alexy said. “She was not interested at any point in him getting a lengthy jail sentence.”
Sexual assault in the fourth degree involves touching the intimate parts of a person without his or her consent, Alexi said. The two other charges both involved having sexual intercourse with someone unable to give consent.
Dow declined to give his client’s version of the events that led to his arrest, but suggested Frisoli made a bad decision in attending the naked party at all.
“It’s extremely unfortunate when people with outstanding records, both academic and personal character, are foolishly involved in situations with the potential for such long-lasting damage,” he said.
The victim, who was accompanied by her family and several friends, made a statement at the hearing. Frisoli answered the judge’s questions at sentencing, but did not give a formal statement, Dow said.
Frisoli will not have to register as a sex offender, Alexi said.