Former hoops star to face sexual assault charges


Former East Hampton Bonacker basketball star Michael Russell will face felony sexual assault charges in New Hampshire after he finishes his term at the Suffolk County Jail later this year.

Mr. Russell, who was sentenced on January 20 to one year in jail for two burglaries in East Hampton last summer, has already served three months. His attorney here, Trevor Darrell of East Hampton, hopes that he will be released within eight months.

But once released, Mr. Russell will have to answer to charges of aggravated sexual assault and criminal threatening, both felonies, after being charged with assaulting a woman, holding a knife to her face and forcing her to have sex with him.

The incident occurred in Keene, New Hampshire, last September, according to the indictment brought against Mr. Russell in Cheshire County Superior Court on December 15, 2008.

Mr. Russell faces two misdemeanor counts of simple assault, after he reportedly slapped the victim on her face and head and grabbed her by the throat and neck, choking her. He also faces a criminal mischief charge, a misdemeanor, for allegedly punching a hole in the wall of an apartment rented by the victim.

Cheshire County Assistant District Attorney Chris McLaughlin said Thursday that Mr. Russell will be brought to New Hampshire to answer the charges after serving his time in Suffolk County.

He said Mr. Russell will not be arraigned until he appears before the court to face the charges. The aggravated sexual assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years, while the criminal threatening with a deadly weapon charge carries a maximum sentence of three and a half to seven years. The three misdemeanor charges carry maximum sentences of one year apiece.

Mr. McLaughlin declined to say why Mr. Russell had been in New Hampshire because that information “could potentially identify the victim.” He said Mr. Russell was also arrested and charged with unlawful possession of alcohol and resisting detention by New Hampshire police in September 2008, but was released days before the alleged assault.

Mr. Russell’s New Hampshire attorney, Larry Vogelman, did not return calls for comment.

Facebook Comments