Two Penn students, Dante Benitez and Ivan Loginov, were in court this week over a brawl last spring that led to their suspension from Penn, significant injuries to Wharton sophomore Max Arias and a slew of criminal charges.
Benitez and Loginov, who entered Penn as members of the Class of 2020, are both accused of assaulting Arias, causing him to sustain a concussion, bloody bruises and a fractured nose and wrist, according to court documents.
At a preliminary hearing on Aug. 17, three felony charges against Benitez and Loginov, which included aggravated assault and burglary, were dropped. They will still face misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to commit simple assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
During the hearing, the defense team argued that Benitez and Loginov acted to protect a 19-year-old woman from a potential sexual assault.
During the incident, which happened in early April, the attorney for Benitez said he and Loginov did not intend to harm Arias, but instead were trying to prevent him from touching the woman, whom the two feared was too drunk to consent to sexual activity.
“A number of people — including Mr. Benitez — who are friends with the 19-year-old woman, believed that she was clearly too intoxicated to consent to have sex with someone,” Ronald Greenblatt, who represented Benitez during the preliminary hearing, said during the hearing, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “They went there to try and stop that from happening. They didn’t go there to commit a crime.”
Assistant District Attorney Lori Edelman argued in court that the defendants were “violent aggressors” and “knew exactly what they were doing.” She also said, in comments reported by the Inquirer, that after beating Arias in his dorm room, the fight continued in the hall and Benitez and Loginov threw him down a flight of stairs.
The students’ trial will begin on Sept. 18.
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