Alleged Beta Assaulter Pleads Guilty
On Thursday, April 19, defendant John O’Neill plead guilty to charges of assault and unlawful restraint, which were pressed by a Wesleyan student after an incident at the Beta Theta Pi (Beta) fraternity house on October 31, 2010. O’Neill, a 21-year-old non-Wesleyan student from Yorktown, NY, was visiting a brother at the Beta house during that Halloween weekend.
The student, who was a stranger to O’Neill, reported the assault to the Middletown Police, who began a full police investigation. They arrested O’Neill on Jan. 4, 2011 after the investigation. O’Neill was charged in Middlesex County Superior Court in Middletown.
O’Neill first appeared in court with his attorney, Eugene J. Riccio, in February 2011, and was charged with two felony counts: sexual assault in the first degree and unlawful restraint in the first degree. O’Neill initially plead “not guilty” to both charges, and could have faced up to 30 years in prison had he been convicted.
O’Neill changed his plea after his charges were changed to sexual assault in the third degree and unlawful restraint in the first degree. The charge of unlawful restraint is still considered a felony, and sentencing for O’Neill is scheduled for late June. His bail, which was set at the maximum $250,000 by Hon. Judge Susan Handy, has been paid, and O’Neill will remain out of jail until sentencing.