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UMass football player Da’Sean Downey denies assaulting students at Hadley party in February



Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2015
BELCHERTOWN — A linebacker for the University of Massachusetts football team pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday to assault charges resulting from an altercation at a Hadley house party in February that left one victim temporarily unconscious and missing teeth.

Da’Sean M. Downey, a sophomore from White Plains, New York, was arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court on two counts of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury. Judge John Payne Jr. released Downey on his own recognizance, and he was ordered to have no contact with and to stay at least 10 feet away from the two alleged victims — former UMass student Brendan Hoffses of Salisbury and current UMass senior Alex Stolicny of Worcester.

The students were allegedly injured in an altercation with Downey on Feb. 21 when Hadley police responded to 128 Rocky Hill Road about 2:35 a.m.

Stolicny had “multiple teeth come out as a result of the punch to his mouth from this suspect, on top of temporarily losing consciousness,” Hadley Police Officer Douglas W. Costa wrote in court documents. He described Hoffses’ injuries as “an apparent broken nose, and possible related orbital injury from being punched.”

Stolicny required surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester to repair his teeth. He alleges he was “sucker-punched” in the face and told the Gazette earlier this year that his family has amassed costly medical bills because of his injuries.

The university earlier this year found that Downey had violated its code of student conduct policy governing threatening behavior, but not its policies on reckless behavior and physical assault.

Downey was suspended from the football team during the spring, but reinstated during the fall. He has appeared in three games this season. The university and athletic department chose not to impose a further suspension on Downey after he was charged.

Judge Payne appointed bar advocate Scott Rathbun to represent Downey. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.