Thursday, April 23, 2009

Details released on assault charge

The Marist student who allegedly stabbed another Marist student last week was arraigned in the Poughkeepsie city court Monday, April 20. Junior Christian Dunnigan, 21, is accused of assault in the first degree.
According to a criminal complaint obtained from the court, Dunnigan allegedly stabbed the victim, Nicholas Ortega, 21, six times with a knife in the torso and other areas of the body, "causing serious physical injury."
The incident took place at 2:24 a.m. on April 14 after an argument in the driveway of 25 South Clover St. in Poughkeepsie.
"Injuries sustained by the victim included puncture wounds and a lacerated liver requiring surgery at St. Francis Hospital," the complaint said.
Ortega declined to comment on the incident.
According to Tim Massie, the college's chief public affairs officer, Dunnigan was given notice that he is temporarily suspended from Marist and is not allowed on campus or at any Marist events. Massie said a judicial proceeding will determine Dunnigan's future status at the college.
Deborah DiCaprio, vice president and dean for student affairs, said that as per the Marist Code of Conduct, any student who is allegedly accused of a serious or violent incident is suspended immediately from the college pending a hearing. She said Dunnigan will meet with the Office of Judicial Affairs later this week to begin the hearing process.
"The decision to suspend or expel a student is made based on the seriousness of the incident," DiCaprio said. "Certainly this event would be considered extremely serious."
Massie said counseling services were made available for students who were in any way affected by the incident. Ortega was released from the hospital on Sunday, according to Massie.
"We continue to pray for a speedy and complete recovery," Massie said. "When I visited him and his parents in the hospital, they all expressed sincere appreciation for everyone's prayers and support."
The assault charge Dunnigan faces is a class B felony. According to the criminal complaint, a person is guilty of assault in the first degree when, with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to that person or to a third person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
Dunnigan is scheduled to appear again in Poughkeepsie city court on Monday, May 18.

Originally appeared 4/23/2009 in The Circle

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