Schenectady County

UVA students caught partying in house must pay for damages

A night of partying by road-tripping college students resulted in 13 arrests Wednesday morning, and

A night of partying by road-tripping college students resulted in 13 arrests Wednesday morning, and a couple of soaked pieces of furniture.

The students, from the University of Virginia, were discovered shortly after 3 a.m. in the Theta Delta Chi fraternity house on Lenox Road, where they were partying, officials said.

They had climbed in through a second-story window and held a party at the house. They later claimed that they had permission to be in the house, a courtesy extended to fellow fraternity members. However, there were no local members present to confirm their story.

There was also nearly $2,000 in damage to the home, including two pieces of furniture that may have been soaked in urine, officials said.

Each was charged with third-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.

At least two pieces of furniture apparently were urinated on, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said.

Carney said one of the men asked whether they were sure it was urine. Regardless, the pieces were expected to have to be replaced, Carney said. And, with a quick resolution of the case, no forensic determination will be necessary.

Schenectady City Court Judge Vincent Versaci accepted a proposal to adjourn the cases in contemplation of dismissal in return for restitution. The adjournment means that if the students stay out of trouble in Schenectady for the next six months, the charges will be dropped.

Versaci accepted the deal at their arraignment. The 13 men all stood in the well of the courtroom while officers watched over them. They had been in custody since their arrest.

Versaci admonished the group, saying they weren’t to be confused with gentlemen, though the judge referred to them as such.

He said, from what he understood, it was the damage and not the illegal entry that upset school officials the most.

“Gentlemen, if you were just that, I don’t think this would have been an issue,” Versaci said, “and you wouldn’t have had to sit here for the last 12 hours.”

“It’s great to have fun,” Versaci said, “but there’s no reason to be destructive.”

For students from out of state, Carney noted, the provision to stay out of trouble here won’t be difficult.

In return for the quick disposition, Union College requested restitution of $1,950 to cover cleaning costs, amounting to $150 per person charged.

That money had to be paid before they were released. It was paid early Wednesday afternoon and the 13 men were freed.

They were also barred from the Union College campus, meaning they had to get police escorts to return to get their vehicles.

“I hope everyone has learned a lesson from this experience,” Versaci told the group at the end of the appearance.

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