<
>

Judge drops charges against Scirrotto in connection with fight

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A judge dismissed five of seven charges
against Penn State safety Anthony Scirrotto for an April off-campus
fight.

Centre County Judge Charles Brown Jr. dismissed felony charges
of burglary and criminal solicitation; two misdemeanor counts of
criminal solicitation; and one misdemeanor count of simple assault.

Brown ruled Monday there was no evidence indicating Scirrotto
instigated the fight.

Brown let stand a felony count of criminal trespass. Scirrotto
still faces one count of harassment, a summary offense, which Brown
did not address in his written order, defense attorney Ron
McGlaughlin said Tuesday.

"Part of the weight has been lifted off Scirrotto's
shoulders," McGlaughlin said Tuesday.

A phone message was left Tuesday for Centre County District
Attorney Michael Madeira.

Authorities said Scirrotto and several friends or acquaintances,
including football players, went to an apartment party about 45
minutes after the safety and his girlfriend got into an argument on
a street April 1 with two other students, who were not players.

A melee ensued at the party, police said. Some of the victims
were punched, one was hit in the head with a beer bottle and
knocked unconscious, and another was punched and kicked in the
face, authorities said.

At least five students were struck during the fight and at least
two needed treatment at a hospital, police said.

Another player, defensive tackle Chris Baker, still faces
charges of burglary and criminal trespass, both felonies; simple
assault, a misdemeanor; and harassment, a summary offense.

Trials in both cases are scheduled to start in October.

Charges against four other players were either withdrawn or
dismissed during a preliminary hearing in May.

Scirrotto, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior from West Deptford, N.J., led the Big Ten with six interceptions last year. Baker was a backup last year.

Scirrotto was one of four players expelled for Penn State's second summer session. In June, lawyers for players including Scirrotto said their clients would be eligible to play when the regular season begins Sept. 1 against Florida International.

It is not known if Joe Paterno has doled out any additional punishment. The coach already ordered the entire team to perform community service this summer and clean out Beaver Stadium after each home game this fall.