A trial date has been set for two Homer brothers both charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year old boy with an object at a teenage drinking party in September 2012.
Anthony Resetarits, 21, and Joseph Resetarits, 19, appeared at their court hearing telephonically before Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman at the Kenai Courthouse Monday. The two men pleaded not guilty at their arraignment last October.
Judge Bauman asked the defense for an update on the confiscation of cell phone photos from teens at the party for evidence to the alleged crime.
Michael Moberly, Joseph Resetarits’ attorney, who attended the hearing telephonically, said Apple Inc. has seized a number of phones, although it is unclear how many and when the phones were reviewed. Due to user privacy reasons, Apple has to search the phone, which can take up to six months, he said.
Alaska State Troopers had tried to search Joseph Resetarits’ phone, but he declined, Moberly said.
Phillip Weidner, Anthony Resetarits’ attorney said telephonically, he was concerned for the potential of spoiled evidence and wanted clarification of when the phones will be returned so discovery issues could be straightened out.
“Apple is potentially playing hard to get,” Bauman said. “We will need to schedule another hearing to get some momentum going in the case before trial.”
Bauman selected trial week for June 2 in Homer with a status hearing on March 10 so the court can get clarification on how many cell phones were seized and searched for photos from the party.
Shaun Sehl from the Alaska Office of Victim’s Rights also participated telephonically. She asked the court to follow rule 45, a right to a speedy trial, because the time for information gathering has been “going on for sometime,” she said.
According to charging documents, Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Jeremy Stone alleged 60 to 80 people, including Homer High School students, attended a party Sept. 8 and 9, 2012 at a home on East End Road in Homer.
The 17-year-old victim arrived at the party about 10 p.m. and eventually passed out on a couch in the living room after drinking heavily, according to the police affidavit.
Troopers allege that while the boy was passed out, multiple people wrote on the boy’s body with a marker while others took photos. Anthony Resetarits shaved an “M” for Mariners, the name of the high school mascot, into the boy’s hair, the complaint alleges. Then, Anthony Resetarits allegedly sexually assaulted the boy with a beer bottle with Joseph Resetarits participating, according to the report.
The partygoers left shortly after the incident and the alleged victim, still unconscious, was taken to his mother. The alleged victim was taken to South Peninsula Hospital for treatment, where a nurse reported the sexual assault to troopers, according to the affidavit.
Troopers recovered multiple photographs that were taken of the victim while he was being assaulted from a boy who identified the men in the photo as the Resetarits brothers, according to Sgt. Stone’s report.
The Resetarits brothers were released from custody on $5,000 bail each last October. If convicted of the Class B Felony, the brothers face 5-15 years in jail.
A 16-year-old Homer boy was later charged in the incident for sexual assault but the minor’s name was not released.
On Feb. 18, a status hearing for Joseph Resetarits was held at the Kenai Courthouse. Joseph Resetarits, who lives in Anchorage and participated telephonically, requested the court’s permission to move to Honolulu, Hawaii to attend an Emergency Medical Technician program at the University of Hawaii Capuano Community College.
State Prosecutor Kelly Lawson said she was concerned with allowing him to move to Hawaii because his brother lives there. She said Anthony Resetarits had been seen drinking at a bar, despite his court order to not consume alcohol and she is concerned about the brothers violating court orders by living together.
The court lifted a waiver of extradition, allowing the brothers to move out of state to attend college. Bauman said there is no requirement of supervision of the brothers because the court did not assign a third party custodian.
The alleged victim’s mother, who participated telephonically in the hearing, said she doesn’t understand why Joseph Resetarits needs to go to Hawaii to enroll in an EMT program.
“I’m not comfortable with both of them back together,” she said. “I don’t trust him. There will be no supervision to keep them in check and that bothers me.”
Joseph Resetarits was enrolled in a firefighting academy in Louisiana but moved back to Alaska. He said he has looked for EMT training in the area but would prefer to live out of state because of the party incident.
“It is hard to live here,” he said. “A lot of people know about this.”
Bauman said he would approve the travel, but not until the court receives confirmation from a fire chief in Hawaii that Joseph Resetarits can volunteer in Hawaii and enroll in EMT course training.
The next court date for both Anthony and Joseph Resetarits is March 10 at the Kenai Courthouse.
Reach Dan Balmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.