AP NEWS

Acquitted man sues complainant, university

April 1, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — A local man found not guilty of raping a Sacred Heart University student he picked up at a city bar has filed suit against the student and the university.

Alfonso Reid claims in a lawsuit filed in Superior Court here that both the young woman and university officials made false and misleading statements about him that ruined his reputation and caused him injury.

“Mr. Reid was incarcerated for approximately 10 months while he waited for a trial for a crime that he didn’t commit,” said his lawyer, DeVaughn Ward. “It’s an extraordinary case. A lot of the allegations levied were proven not to be true.”

While Ward said he is “not ready” to claim that the allegations against Reid were racially motivated, he said that Sacred Heart has a “track record” for supporting allegations made by white female students against African-American men.

Last summer, former Sacred Heart student Nikki Yovino was convicted of making a false rape complaint against two black football players at the university. The two men are suing the university claiming they were forced to leave the school because of Yovino’s complaint against them.

And in January 2017, Sacred Heart University officials issued a letter of apology along with an undisclosed financial settlement to Gary Douglas of Bridgeport for misidentifying him in leaflets issued around campus as being the man responsible for the crime Reid was eventually arrested for.

“Sacred Heart has some culpability in this case,” Ward said.

The suit also cites two of the young woman’s friends who supported her rape claim and the Bridgeport Police Department as defendants in the lawsuit.

“Sacred Heart University’s mission and values demand that we recognize the dignity and worth of every human being,” said Spokeswoman Deborah Noack. “We demonstrate that commitment not only in the way we regularly respond to the injustices that take place across this country and around the world, but in the way we interact with one another on a daily basis. There is zero tolerance at Sacred Heart for any kind of discrimination or bullying and to suggest otherwise is insulting and disrespectful to the entire Sacred Heart community.”

In January 2018, Reid, 40, was found not guilty of first-degree sexual assault and first-degree unlawful restraint.

“We thought neither of them had been 100 percent truthful and because of that, we had a doubt,” jury foreman Joe Majersky, of Monroe, said later as other jurors nodded in agreement. There were just too many inconsistencies in her (the young woman’s) testimony.”

Reid, who had previously been convicted of attempted murder, was accused of raping the 19-year-old Sacred Heart University student on March 30, 2017, after seeing her in a crowd of students at the Golden Star Café on Main Street here.

The young woman, who grew up in a small town in another state, admitted her memory of the night was hazy because of intoxication and a pill she said Reid forced her to take but she told the jury she clearly remembered telling Reid no and attempting to kick him away from her as he allegedly raped her in his home.

In video recorded statement to police that was played for the jury, Reid made a joke of the situation, bragging about having sex with white girls but he adamantly denied meeting and having sex with the Sacred Heart student — even when shown a photograph of himself standing next to the young woman outside the bar.

“Regret is not rape,” Reid’s public defender argued at trial. “This case is about sex between two consenting adults. She never said no.”