An off-campus fight involving football players last April was described as "brutal in nature," premeditated and bloody by the Office of Judicial Affairs, according to documents recently obtained by The Daily Collegian and ESPN.
The documents paint a picture of a chaotic scene, with victims suffering injuries ranging from black eyes to contusions. One victim bled profusely, leaving a trail of blood throughout the apartment, according to the documents.
In the documents, football players refer to the incident as an act of retribution -- "We went there for revenge," one player said. "We had a reputation to uphold," another player said, according to the documents.
Six players -- safety Anthony Scirrotto, linebackers Jerome Hayes and Tyrell Sales, defensive tackle Chris Baker and cornerbacks Justin King and Lydell Sargeant -- were initially charged by police in connection with the incident, which police say happened at the Meridan II, 646 E. College Ave.
Criminal charges were eventually dropped against King, Sargeant, Sales and Hayes, while Scirrotto and Baker each eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in connection with the fight.
The day after the incident, one victim, "who was not the worst injured," according to documents, "sat before [Judicial Affairs] Director [Joe] Puzycki with his right eye completely closed, black and blue, with external cuts to his face. He had several contusions on his head and his neck was discolored, allegedly, from being kicked while he was on the ground."
Though names in the internal Judicial Affairs documents were redacted, numbers within the documents assigned to football players match up with 15 students who eventually received either formal charges or informal warnings from Judicial Affairs.
In a June 10, 2007 document called "Final Charges and Sanctions," 15 players were charged with violations ranging from major to minor.
Four players were charged with major violations; sanctions they received included temporary expulsion, permanent probation, anger and violence counseling, community service and a meeting with Student Affairs officials. The players were expelled for the second summer session but were allowed to return in time for the start of Penn State football practice, documents indicate.
It was publicly stated that Scirrotto, Sargeant, Baker and Hayes served temporary expulsions for last year's second summer session, which ended Aug. 17; they were all permitted to join preseason workouts that began Aug. 6.
Baker has since been kicked off the team; no reason has been given.
Two players were charged with moderate to major violations, receiving permanent probation, anger and violence counseling, community service and a meeting with student affairs officials.
Four players were charged with moderate violations and were sanctioned to extended probation through July 1 of this year and community service.
Community service in each of the above cases was to be coordinated by Athletic Director Tim Curley, the documents indicate.
Sports information director Jeff Nelson said he did not know about specific players' community service requirements as indicated in the Judicial Affairs documents but noted the team as a whole was responsible for cleaning Beaver Stadium following the first five home games last season.
Nelson said Curley generally oversees anything that involves athletics, though he added, "I don't think Tim was physically there," referring to community service.
Five additional players were charged with minor to moderate violations; one student received an informal written warning and a student affairs meeting, while the other four students received an informal written warning.
When asked about the documents, Gary Miller, Penn State assistant director of Judicial Affairs, deferred comment to university relations.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said she has not seen the Judicial Affairs documents. She said Tuesday the university was disappointed they had been shared with the news media in discussion of an ESPN segment on Outside the Lines, which used the documents in their Sunday airing of a show detailing Penn State's recent off-the-field issues.
"I do know the people in Judicial Affairs and I know the process, and I believe that the process was followed," Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said yesterday. "And I believe there are safeguards in place to ensure fairness."
The Judicial Affairs documents shed light on what happened after police say Scirrotto fought with a group of men after one man commented about a girl with Scirrotto spitting. The altercation led to the incident at the Meridian, Scirrotto's lawyer, Ron McGlaughin, said in February.
" ... the incident on the street would seem to be a minor catalyst for an event to take place with such aggression as reported by the witnesses," the documents read. "These allegations, if true, do not describe a 'heat of the moment' reaction, but rather describe a premeditated and planned assault which was described as brutal in nature."
Victims in the April 1 apartment invasion described the incident as a "vicious" and "one-sided" attack, according to the documents.
One player, upon entering the apartment, pointed out one of the victims and told others who entered with him to "get him," according to the documents.
Physical contact between the party guests and football players began almost as soon as the team members entered the apartment, with witnesses in the apartment describing it as "just shoving and pushing persons out of the way," according to the documents.
"A path of blood ran from the apartment rug into the hallway and then into the stairwell. There were several areas of the apartment rug that was [sic] stained with blood droppings," the documents state.
Players admitted they knew going to the Meridian was a bad idea, according to the documents.
"We knew on Monday we would feel the wrath," one player said, while another player stated the team "knew it was wrong" to go to the Meridian, according to the documents.
A player told the State College Police Department they had initiated "the second incident," and they could have handled the situation better, according to the documents.
One witness saw players high-fiving each other as they were running down the stairs of the Meridian, the documents state. One witness compared the players' "elation" to a post-game celebration, according to the documents.
Victims, who reportedly received threats following the April 1 apartment invasion, feared for their safety during and after the incident, according to the documents.
"The common feedback Judicial Affairs has heard from alleged victims and witnesses at the party is that justice does not apply when football players are involved. Some reported to Judicial Affairs that they feel like 'they have become the criminals' for ruining the football team,' " the documents read.
A note the Meridian residents found slid under their door asked them to "be a hero" and not press charges -- to show their attackers "the mercy they failed to show you."
The note was signed "The voice of the Penn State student body" but contained university contact information for Curley. The note was not printed on university letterhead.
Though victims declined to comment for this article, at least one of the victims has indicated dissatisfaction with the Judicial Affairs-sanctioned punishments.
Victims and witnesses felt the football team was given preferential treatment after the Meridian fight, though the documents state Puzycki was "committed to conducting a thorough and impartial investigation ... irrespective of the identities and status of the individuals involved."
Joe Paterno could not be reached for comment.
Collegian Staff Writers Katherine Dvorak, Brian Eller, Josh Langenbacher, Lauren McCormack and Leslie Small contributed to this report.