Anthony Bertolone spent months secretly and sexually abusing his closest friend at a Drake University fraternity house, a Polk County judge ruled this morning.
District Judge Scott Rosenberg found Bertolone, 22, guilty of five counts of third-degree sexual abuse stemming from specific video-documented incidents stretching between January and July 2010.
“Clearly, the evidence shows in the numerous videos observed by the court that consent of any kind was totally absent,” Rosenberg found in a 15-page written ruling, roughly one-half of which was read in court. “Not only does the court find the victim’s testimony to be totally credible in regard to the issue of consent, but the videos themselves show that consent did not occur. Indeed, the videos appear to have been done surreptitiously, without knowledge by the victim and while the victim was incapacitated, asleep, unconscious or totally unaware of what was occurring.”
Bertolone, who sat silently as the decision was rendered, was handcuffed and taken to jail shortly thereafter. He now faces up to 50 years in prison when he's formally sentenced on June 18. Due to the crimes involved, probation is not an option.
Defense attorney Alfredo Parrish, who had not yet read the entire written decision when he left the courtroom, declined to comment. “We’ll just have to take a look at the ruling and see whether or not we’re going to go forward with an appeal,” he said.
Bertolone’s family, who sat silently as the verdict was read, later declined to comment. Neither the victim nor his family was present.
Polk County court papers charged that Bertolone, a highly organized junior in 2010, for at least seven months used an unidentified drug to secretly fondle and attempt oral sex with a fellow Sigma Chi fraternity brother without the man's knowledge. The case, which involves more than 160 photos and videos discovered on Bertolone’s computer, culminated in a five-day bench trial in front of Rosenberg in March.