September 20, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers wide receiver has assault charges dismissed

Photo by Kevin Xavier |

Leonte Carroo exits the Piscataway Municipal Court, walking hand in hand with his mother,left, and girlfrriend, right, after all assault charges against him were dismissed Oct. 6.

All assault charges against Rutgers star wide receiver Leonte Carroo have been dropped.

Piscataway Municipal Court Judge Dennis M. Fackelman approved the dismissal of the assault charges that were levied against Carroo stemming from an altercation that took place Sept. 12 outside of the Hale Center, the Rutgers football team’s training facility attached to High Point Solutions Stadium on Busch campus about 45 minutes after the team’s 37-34 loss to Washington State.

The restraining order applied for by the reported victim against Carroo, was dismissed earlier in the day, and as a result, the state was not interested in continuing the criminal case, said Tom Lanza, Piscataway Township senior prosecutor. 

The state was also advised that the victim, who was serving as a recruiting ambassador for the athletics department at the time of the incident, did not wish for the state to continue its pursuit of criminal charges toward Carroo, Lanza said.

“She’s doing this on her own free will and wishes that this matter be put behind her and Mr. Carroo,” Lanza said.

Rutgers University Police Department Capt. Paul Fischer was the supervising officer who oversaw Officer William DeFalco, the officer on the scene.

The matter was discussed in the presence of both Fischer and DeFalco, who were "also in agreement with the disposition," Lanza said.

Carroo sat waiting to hear his fate in the second pew on the right side of the courtroom in Piscataway, dressed in a dark blue suit paired with a pink shirt, navy tie and scarlet handkerchief tucked neatly in his jacket. While sitting, he leaned forward, elbows over knees, eagerly awaiting his name to be called.

Carroo’s counsel, Peter Gilbreth of Morristown, stipulated on behalf of his client that there was probable cause to file the complaint and it was stated on record that Rutgers police was not in agreement with the dismissal, but they did not object to it.

“We have conflicting statements, there’s some conflicting medical reports, there’s unclear video,” Lanza told Fackelman in the courtroom. “It really does not give the state any additional evidence that there was any clear-cut assault.”

The dismissal of the complaint was forced because the victim did not wish to be a witness in the case, along with a lack of other evidence against Carroo, Lanza said.

Fackelman asked Lanza if he was correct in saying that the victim jeopardized the state’s case by not being a witness.

“It weakens it, Judge,” Lanza said. “It does. Greatly.”

Fackelman then asked Lanza if he felt that he would not be able to prove the state’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Yes,” Lanza said. “We make it a requirement that the defendant attend anger management.”

In conjunction with the dismissal of Carroo’s charges, the court requires him to attend six, one-hour anger management sessions.

Carroo said he understood that he needed to attend anger management counseling when Fackelman asked for his comprehension.

Gilbreth made himself available to the media after the proceedings, making a point to state that the victim was "not forced to withdraw her complaint" and added that his client was happy that the process was over.

“He’s very relieved,” Gilbreth said. “You could see maybe by his emotion at the end of the hearing when he turned to me. He was very, very relieved.”

Carroo is currently serving an indefinite suspension from the football team as a result of the incident, and Gilbreth disclosed that the University had been notified that the charges were dismissed.

“Now it’s in their hands,” Gilbreth said, while explaining the need to file a case for Carroo on the basis of probable cause. 

“I think (Rutgers police is) still taking a position that there was some smoke here and they don’t wanna say there was never any smoke,” Gilbreth said. “But there was never a fire. There was never proof beyond a reasonable doubt. They knew that and it was stipulated, basically, by Mr. Lanza on the record.”

“The Carroo family and Leonte have no desire under any circumstances to come back into the system. He wants to move on,” Gilbreth said outside the building. “There will be no follow-up civil action. He just wants to go back and get his life in order.”

A spokesman for the Rutgers football team said there would be “no further comment” when contacted by The Daily Targum.

It remains unclear if Carroo will be permitted back on the field as the Scarlet Knights host No. 4 Michigan State for the annual Blackout Game on Saturday at 8 p.m.

“We believe that we have done everything we can do to convince the school that these matters are over — and in fact they are over,” Gilbreth said. “They’ve both been categorically dismissed. There is no pending action against Leonte Carroo. Now it’s time for the school to stand up.”

No University spokesperson was immediately available for comment. 

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @KevinPxavier and @TargumSports on Twitter.

Kevin Xavier

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