Victim of Sex Assault Taunted Online

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013  |  Updated 8:11 AM EDT
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Joan Toribio (left) and Edgar Gonzalez, two Torrington High School football players, are charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. Toribio is also facing similar charges for an alleged incident involving another 13-year-old girl.

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Two star members of the Torrington High School football team have been charged in sexual assault cases involving different 13-year-old girls, at least one of whom has been taunted online by dozens of upset classmates.

Two 18-year-old football players, Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, who live in the same Highland Avenue condo, have been charged with felony second-degree sexual assault and other crimes in a police investigation that began last month.  Both players were friends with the girls, who are in middle school, accordind to detectives.

Investigators said the football players were friends with the 13-year-old girls and made the arrests two weeks after the alleged misconduct, when a victim’s family member came forward on Feb. 10.

Details of the allegations have been sealed from public view.

Gonzalez also has a pending robbery case from last year, but was allowed to play in past football season.

School administrators said they were investigating cyberbullying against the alleged victim.

"We’re doing everything we can to provide the safety they need in schools,” Kenneth Traub, chair of the Board of Education, said. 

Social media posts by classmates taunting the victim have included vulgar  language and have blamed her for "ruining" the football players' lives.

Both teens have pleaded not guilty. Gonzalez is being held in New Haven and Toribio has been released.

Gonzalez's lawyer, J. Patten Brown III, said the allegations against his client appear to involve consensual, but statutorily illegal, sex. A message was left for Toribio's attorney.

Torbibo is also facing sexual assault charges involving a second 13-year-old, according to police. 

A 17-year-old student is charged with sexually assaulting one of the girls as well, police said, and more arrests are possible.

The case has some parallels to one in Steubenville, Ohio, where two football players were convicted this week of raping a girl who was later threatened online.

The allegations have rocked the Torrington community. 

Debbie Sliwa said she's thinking about taking her daughter out of public school.

"Everyone's talking about home schooling. They want to take their kids out of Torrington High School?," she said. "A lot of kids want to."

Police said they could make more arrests but do not believe there are other victims in this case.

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