Chowan student faces rape charge

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 19, 2004

MOREHEAD CITY – A Chowan College student was among three men indicted last week by a Carteret County grand jury on felony first-degree rape charges.

David Joseph Sheehan, 21, a member of Chowan’s men’s soccer team, was indicted along with Matthew Kennedy, 20, of Wilson and Phillip Wilson Schandorff, 20, of Havelock.

According to an article in the Havelock News, penned by Tom Bone, the three men were at a party Nov. 25 in a home on Emerald Isle owned by Sheehan’s parents. It was there that the alleged sex crimes took place against a 17-year-old Havelock girl.

The three suspects are all graduates of Havelock High School. The alleged rape victim and two witnesses in the case were current Havelock High students at the time of the alleged crime.

Following an investigation by Emerald Isle Police Detective James A. Reese, warrants were issued Dec. 19 for the arrests of the three men.

Brian Lassiter, Chief of the Chowan College Campus Police, said yesterday he aware of Sheehan’s arrest. He did not know if Sheehan, who started in all 17 games for the Braves this past fall, returned to campus following the holiday break.

No other Chowan College officials could be reached for comment on Monday as school was closed in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

In Bone’s story, Detective Reese and Judicial 3B District Attorney W. David McFadyen concur the reason for first-degree rape charges was based on the condition that the alleged victim was outnumbered.

&uot;If one person has forcible relations without a weapon involved that is usually a second-degree rape,&uot; said McFadyen. &uot;But if they use a weapon, or there are multiple defendants, that constitutes first-degree rape.&uot;

McFadyen said the first degree sexual offense charges were also based on the multiple defendants factor, which is described in the statutes as &uot;aided and abetted by one or more other persons.&uot;

First-degree sex offenses encompass sexual acts other than vaginal intercourse.

Reese reported to the district attorney that the three men were at the Nov. 25 party celebrating Kennedy’s birthday.

&uot;A 17-year-old Havelock girl was invited, and she turned out to be the only girl to attend, although she had been told other girls would be there,&uot; stated Reese.

Reese said alcohol was a major factor at the party.

&uot;Everyone was inebriated, including the victim,&uot; he said.

Reese said the victim did not report the incident for a week. &uot;That is not unusual in a case like this. There was never any question in this case as to whether sexual contact had occurred. The question was over consent.&uot;

Reese said in the course of his investigation he interviewed numerous witnesses, including the alleged victim, and five males who attended the party.

&uot;Some of the statements corroborated the victim’s statement,&uot; he added. &uot;But there was a final interview with Mr. Sheehan that sealed everything.&uot;

All three suspects posted bond. Schandorff is out on a $150,000 secured bond. Kennedy posted $75,000 secured bond and Sheehan posted $36,650 secured, according to Carteret Clerk of Court records.

&uot;At this point, the case is progressing on the investigation done by local law enforcement,&uot; said McFadyen. &uot;If attorneys for the defendants develop further information or evidence, we’ll look at it.&uot;

&uot;I put together what I felt was a strong case,&uot; said detective Reese.