Former Boston College tight end C.J. Parsons pleaded guilty Monday to four charges stemming from an assault on a homeless man in Boston in January, avoiding jail time, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.
Parsons, 23, of West Newton, Massachusetts, received a 2½-year suspended sentence and five years' probation after pleading guilty to aggravated assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and witness intimidation.
Ex-Marist quarterback Anthony Varrichione, 24, of Medway, Massachusetts, has also been charged, and is due to appear in court in January.
The charges stemmed from a late-night argument that led to the 6-foot-6, 253-pound Parsons and Varrichione assaulting the then-50-year-old homeless man, who had been panhandling in the area of 74 Allston St. Witnesses said the former football players punched and kicked the man, with Parsons also slamming the victim's head into the ground.
The attack was stopped only when a female passerby threw her body over the victim and other witnesses called 911.
Prosecutor Spencer Lord recommended that Parsons serve three to five years in state prison, but Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced him to 2½ years in a house of correction, then ordered that sentence suspended for a five-year probationary period.
In an impact statement, which Lord read to the court, the victim wrote: "It happened on a Sunday and I woke up in the hospital on Wednesday. When I go out, I'm scared of people. I don't want to go out. I'm scared. I have memory loss. I can't read. My balance is off. I am always tired. I keep missing doctors' appointments because I forget what day it is."
"This was a case of repugnant violence," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. "We stand by our recommendation that state prison was the most appropriate punishment for an utterly senseless attack on a man who posed no threat to the defendant."
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.