Busby '01 pleads guilty to assault

by Wendy Yu | 5/8/00 5:00am

In a negotiated deal with the Grafton County Attorney, former student Sean Busby plead guilty last Monday to three acts of simple assault involving two College students and a nurse at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in a dramatic series of events last year.

Busby, who was a member of the Class of 2001, was sentenced to one year in a house of corrections, but will have his sentence suspended for one year in which time he must comply with a list of behavioral conditions.

In 11 months, Busby must submit a petition making a case for why his sentence should be suspended indefinitely. If he is unsuccessful or fails to submit a petition, he will have to serve his term in prison.

During his probation period, Busby must participate in counseling, treatment and educational programs prescribed by his Probation Officer, refrain from committing any felonies, misdemeanors or driving while under the influence and abstain from the use of alcohol and drugs.

Busby's trial was originally scheduled to take place last Wednesday, but the judge accepted a deal from his attorney on Monday, circumventing a court trial.

Grafton County Attorney Ken Anderson also told The Dartmouth that part of the deal made with Busby included the elimination of a drug charge, which is a felony-level offense.

Anderson said the judge had made it clear he was only accepting this portion of the deal because of Busby's efforts to engage in counseling and rehabilitative measures since the incident.

Another part of the deal involved lessening one of the offenses from a felony to a simple assault, a misdemeanor. A felony offense carries with it a prison sentence of between three-and-a half to seven years.

The change came after Anderson discussed the case with the victim, who suffered major injury to his face and neck due to being choked by Busby almost to the point of unconsciousness.

"[I] came to the conclusion that it would not be a grave injustice to obtain a plea of guilty to that misdemeanor offense rather than to go on trial on the felony offense," Anderson said.

According to reports from the students involved, on April 23 last year Busby, under the influence of drugs, went into his friend's room in the South Fayerweather residence hall, offering to share hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The student refused, prompting Busby to forcefully choke him in an attempt to feed him the drugs. About half-an-hour later, Busby, unprovoked, punched another student in the room of a female student.

According to Senior Associate Dean of the College Dan Nelson, Busby is not currently enrolled in the College, although he declined to elaborate on his status due to issues of legal and institutional confidentiality.