The Glen Ridge rape was an incident in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1989 in which a mentally handicapped girl was raped with a broomstick and a bat, by members of the Glen Ridge High School football team. This event attracted nationwide attention, mainly due to the perception that the assailants had been given special treatment by the school and local authorities due to their status as local football stars. The events were later documented in a book, TV movie, and were a loose basis for an episode of Law & Order.
- 1 People involved
- 2 Timeline of events
- 2.1 Incident
- 2.2 Reactions to the charges
- 2.3 Trial
- 2.4 Verdict
- 2.5 Reactions to the verdict
- 2.6 Later events
- 2.7 Our Guys the book
- 2.8 Our Guys the TV movie
- 3 References
- 4 External links
- The Victim – Known as Leslie Faber in the book and movie, her real name was never made public. She was 17 at the time of the incident. Her IQ has variously been reported as 65 or 49, and is said to have the mental development of an 8 year old second grader. What is said to have made her so susceptible to the rape was that she would do whatever she thought was necessary to be friends with someone, especially the athletes, whom she idolized. Her assailants forced her to have sex with a baseball bat, a broom and a stick. She had been sexually assaulted before in 1983, in an unrelated incident. This was also not her first encounter with these boys, some of whom had previously tricked her into licking a pen coated with dog feces and sticking a hot dog in her vagina. While technically a student at Glen Ridge, she primarily attended classes at Columbia High School.
- Detective Sheila Byron – Main investigator of the case. She had graduated from Glen Ridge High School in 1981.
- Richard Corcoran (Sr.) – A local police Lieutenant and detective. Father of one of the assailants.
- Detective Robert Griffin – Conducted the initial interviews at the school.
- Robert Laurino – Prosecutor who tried the case.
- Herbert H. Tate Jr. – Essex County prosecutor.
- Raymond Weiss – Spokesman for Tate.
- Chris Archer – Assailant, 17 at the time of the rape, Reportedly the ringleader, and the one who convinced the victim to come down to the basement. Younger brother of Paul Archer (by one year).
- Kevin Scherzer – Assailant, 18 at the time of the rape, and co-captain and linebacker for the football team.
- Kyle Scherzer – Assailant, 18 at the time of the rape. Twin brother of Kevin Scherzer. Captain of the baseball team, co-captain and quarterback of the football team. He applied lubricant to the bags that covered the objects used to penetrate the victim. At one point, he passively suggested that they stop.
- Bryant Grober – Assailant, 17 at the time of the rape, had oral sex with the victim. Found guilty of conspiracy, sentenced to three years of probation and community service.
- Paul Archer – Assailant, 18 at the time of the rape. He did not actually do any of the assault, but stood by and did nothing to stop it. A date with him was promised to the victim if she would come down to the basement. The victim had a crush on Paul, and Bernard Lefkowitz’s book alleges that he was occasionally nice to her, unlike others in the town. Captain of the wrestling team. Plead guilty.
- Peter Quigley – Assailant, 18 at the time of the rape. Co-captain of the football team. Did not participate but verbally encouraged the others.
- Richard "Richie" Timothy Corcoran Jr. – Assailant, 18 at the time of the rape. Son of a local police Lieutenant, reportedly penetrated the victim with a stick. His involvement presence at the scene of the rape was discovered on April 11, 1989, and prompted prosecutors to assume control of the case the next day and remove Corcoran's father from the case. All charges against Corcoran were dropped.
- Mari Carmen Ferraez – Paul Archer's girlfriend, taped a conversation in which she lead the victim into answering questions in a way that made the rape seem consensual. Since the taping violated no recording laws, Ferraez was charged only with witness tampering, but the charges were later dropped.
- Charles "Charlie" Figueroa – An African American student at Glen Ridge (one of only 3 in his graduating class) and a member of the football team. Because of being African American, he was not considered part of the inner circle of football players. He told a teacher about the incident after the teacher over heard him discussing the rumors about it with another student. He had been asked by the boys involved to tape a planned second incident (which never occurred). This was reportedly how the rape first came to be known about outside of the student body. Charlie was not present during the rape. He and his family were reportedly further ostracized by people in Glen Ridge who considered him a snitch, while many outsiders have since concluded that he acted honorably.[who?]
- Phil Grant – A senior baseball player who left while the victim was undressing. He also persuaded a friend to leave and tried to get Paul Archer to leave.
- Michael Buonomo – The principal of Glen Ridge High School at the time.
- Benedict Tantillo – Vice-principal of Glen Ridge High School.
- John Vincent Saykanic – Kevin Scherzer's defense attorney.
- Donald W. Merkelbach – Defense Attorney for the Scherzer twins.
- Ronald Kuby – Charles Figueroa's Attorney.
- Sidney H. Reiss – Judge of the Superior Court. Arraigned the Scherzer twins and Peter Quigley.
- Bernard Lefkowitz – Author who wrote a book detailing the events of the rape and the town’s reaction.
Timeline of events
The assault occurred on March 1, 1989. The victim left her house the afternoon of the incident to go play basketball in Cartaret Park. On the way, she found a stick which she decided to keep. When she arrived at the park, many of the school's jocks were there, either watching or participating in an informal baseball practice. Chris Archer came over to her, and asked her to come down to the Scherzer’s basement for a party (this basement, as well as the Scherzer’s deck, was often used for parties) (the Scherzer’s house was also adjacent to the park and their parents were in Florida, only their grandmother was home). After initially refusing, she agreed when Chris told her that his brother, Paul (whom she had a crush on), would go on a date with her. Chris put his arm around the victim and escorted her to the basement. When they reached the basement, 12 boys from the park were there (13 including Chris). After some conversation, Bryant Grober removed his pants and underpants and the victim removed her shirt. At this point, a sophomore and another underclassman left. A total of six boys left while the victim undressed, including Phil Grant (a senior baseball player who tried to get Paul Archer to leave with him) and another senior baseball player. Seven boys stayed, all football players, and all seniors, except for junior Chris Archer. Bryant Grober then had oral sex with the victim. The victim was then penetrated with a broom by the Scherzer twins. Chris Archer then penetrated the victim with a baseball bat. The broom and bat were covered with plastic bags coated with Vaseline. At one point during the rape, Kyle Scherzer passively suggested that they stop. The victim did not resist because she thought that letting these boys do these things to her would make them like her and want to be her friend. After it was over, she promised not to tell, in a kind of team cheer/pact. She then waited outside the Scherzer house for a long time, waiting for Paul to show up for their date, which he never did. A number of boys later attempted to get the victim to come down to the basement a second time to repeat the incident. Rumors of the incident circulated around the high school for three months before any arrests were made. The first staff member to report the incident was a teacher who overheard Charles "Charlie" Figueroa discussing the rumors with a fellow classmate. Figueroa had been asked earlier to videotape a planned second incident (which never took place). The vice principal (Benedict Tantillo) then called the police on March 22. Police then interviewed Figueroa and the victim’s swim coach, the latter of whom had heard about the incident from the victim herself three days after the incident. Detective Lieutenant Richard Corcoran (Sr.) put Detective Sheila Byron in charge of investigating the case. Byron’s main focus was to establish if the victim had given consent, or whether she was incapable of giving consent. During her interviews with the victim, it became clear to Byron that the victim did not even really understand exactly what had happened to her, so she would not have known she could say no. During the investigation, it became clear that the victim still wanted the athletes to like her, and that she did not want to get them in trouble. Byron realized she would need independent corroboration, because the victim might not make a convincing witness in a trial. The prosecutor's office officially became involved with the investigation on April 7, and officially took control on April 12, when it was discovered that Richard Corcoran Jr. had been present at the scene of the crime.
Reactions to the charges
First public reports
The first public report of the incident was on May 23, 1989, by the local (to New York) NBC station WNBC-TV. Over the next few days the story was picked up in newspapers across the United States and Canada. The New York Times and Washington Post ran their first articles regarding the incident on May 25, 1989 , the same day the story was picked up by newspapers in Lewiston, Maine and Spokane, Washington. The Toronto Star became the first foreign newspaper to carry the story on May 26 , the same day the story hit newspapers in northern Alabama and Tampa Bay, Florida.
Reactions within Glen Ridge
Many Glen Ridge students characterized the victim as promiscuous, as did many parents in the town. Some Glen Ridge residents stated that they felt that the school placed too great an importance on athletics, and this lead outsiders to speculate that the athletes had received special treatment by the school. People pointed out that the boys had not been punished for destroying Mary Ryan’s house two years earlier, and that they could to get away with things others could not. Some said that the athletes were being protected in order to maintain an image of Glen Ridge as a squeaky clean town, and that until the national media had picked this story up, the incident would have been swept under the rug. Many others rejected the notion that the town as a whole bore some collective guilt in the matter. Many within the town felt more sympathy for the boys and their families than for the victim. Bernard Lefkowitz's book about the incident quoted a parent as saying "It's such a tragedy...they’re such nice boys and this will scar them forever." The school responded to the charges by suspending the suspects from school for ten days.
Reactions outside the town
Outside the town, many[who?] were shocked that the incident had gone unreported for so long, and were equally surprised to hear townspeople blaming the victim for her rape. Many people[who?] were surprised by the number of boys who were reported to have sat by and watched the rape take place. Some people[who?] blamed the parents of the boys, claiming that they should have raised their children better, while many others[who?], both in the town and elsewhere, blamed the community of Glen Ridge itself, for breeding what they said was a culture in which jocks were raised to believe, and treated as though, they were above the law. Many[who?] believed that the boys had received special treatment by the school because of being on the football team. Others[who?] compared the case to a recent rape of a jogger in Central Park by a similar number of poor, urban, African American teens (the African American teens in the Central Park case were later found to be innocent). Many[who?] felt that the Glen Ridge teens were treated less harshly, because they were white, upper middle class, suburban, and their victim was mentally challenged.
Reactions to the verdict
Later lives of those involved
- The Victim – Currently works in a department store in New Jersey.
- Detective Sheila Byron – Moved out of Glen Ridge in the mid 90's.
- Richard Corcoran (Sr.) –
- Robert Laurino – On January 20, 2010 was appointed to the position of Acting Essex County Prosecutor by Acting Attorney General of the State of New Jersey and Former Essex County Prosecutor Paula T. Dow 
- Herbert H. Tate Jr. –
- Chris Archer – Attended Boston College, where he was accused of rape by another girl, however those charges were dropped .
- Kevin Scherzer – Later worked for a floor finishing company in New Jersey.
- Kyle Scherzer – Later worked for a floor finishing company in New Jersey.
- Bryant Grober –
- Paul Archer –
- Peter Quigley –
- Richard "Richie" Timothy Corcoran Jr. – After the charges against him were dropped, in 1997, Corcoran won a $200,000 settlement in a federal civil rights suit charging malicious prosecution. After the events of the rape he married a woman named Michelle, and they later became estranged. Corcoran enlisted in the Army in June 2000, and was deployed to Afghanistan with the 7th Special Forces Group before returning to Fort Bragg in 2003. In February 2005, at age 34, he shot his wife (then 30) once and her boyfriend (William Paul Seifert) several times, before committing suicide by shooting himself. At the time of his suicide, the Corcorans had a seven month old baby.
- Mari Carmen Ferraez –
- Charles "Charlie" Figueroa –
- Michael Buonomo –
- Benedict Tantillo –
Our Guys the book
Bernard Lefkowitz wrote a book about the Glen Ridge Rape called Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb. The book attributes many of the problems with the football players to the society's (as well as the town's and the parents') heavy influence on winning and success rather than on personal character. The book was later adapted into a TV movie.
Our Guys the TV movie
The events of the Glen Ridge Rape were adapted into a TV Movie called Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge which premiered on ABC in 1999, and is occasionally shown on Lifetime. The film, directed by Guy Ferland, stars Ally Sheedy, Eric Stoltz, and Heather Matarazzo, and is an adaptation of Bernard Lefkowitz's book. The rape scene of the film was toned down a lot because of the film being for broadcast television. Some of the things described in Lefkowitz's book were left out of the film, such as Kevin Scherzer's alleged habit of masturbating in class and the jocks putting Mary Ryan's cat in a microwave for a few seconds. The film renamed several characters and invented some new ones. The film also altered the time-line of events, moving the time of the rape being reported up to Fall (it is football season and the film opens on homecoming night), when in reality the rape was reported in Spring. It also shows Amy (real name Mary) Ryan’s party occurring after the arrests, when this party really occurred two years prior to the rape.
|Character Name||Real Life Basis||Actor||Notes|
|Detective Kelly Brooks||Sheila Byron||Ally Sheedy|
|Prosecutor Robert Laurino||""||Eric Stoltz||Stoltz also narrates a brief summary of the later lives of some of the characters at the film's end|
|Leslie Faber||Victim (name never revealed to the public)||Heather Matarazzo||Leslie Faber was a psuedonym assigned to the victim by Bernard Lefkowitz|
|Ros Faber||Victim's Mother||Sara Botsford|
|Paul Archer||""||Scott Vickaryous||In the film he suggests to his friends that they stop, but it was actually Kyle Scherzer who did this.|
|Lt. Frank Bennett||Lt. Richard Corcoran (Sr.)||Eric Keenleyside|
|Mr. Faber||Victim's Father||Michael Tomlinson|
|Doug Archer||""||Art Hindle|
|Mrs. Archer||""||Gwynyth Walsh|
|Barry Bennett||Richard "Richie" Corcoran Jr.||Brendan Fehr|
|Chris Archer||""||Tygh Runyan|
|John Tierney||made up character||Kett Turton|
|Carl Brewer||Charles "Charlie" Figueroa||Doron Bell|
|Bryant Grover||Bryant Grober||Derek Hamilton|
|Officer Balke||made up character||Lochlyn Munro|
|Mr. Jack Scherzer||""||Stephen Miller|
|Kevin Scherzer||""||Ryan Taylor|
|Kyle Scherzer||""||Will Sanderson|
|Peter Quigley||""||Aaron Smolinski|
|Mari Farreaz||""||Carly Pope|
|Amy Ryan||Mary Ryan||Amber Rothwell||The party at this character's house actually happened two years before the events depicted in the film.|
|Judge Cohen||""||David Abbott|
- Bernard Lefkowitz (1997). Our guys: the Glen Ridge rape and the secret life of the perfect suburb. University of California Press. ISBN 0520205960. http://books.google.com/books?id=-QjG5QpOKcoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=glen+ridge&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- Special to The New York Times (1989-05-25). "5 Youths Held in Sex Assault On Mentally Impaired Girl, 17". Glen Ridge (Nj): NYTimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/05/25/nyregion/5-youths-held-in-sex-assault-on-mentally-impaired-girl-17.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- Yen, Marianne (May 25, 1989). "New Jersey Students Charged in Sex Assault Of Retarded Girl". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/73878654.html?dids=73878654:73878654&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=May+25%2C+1989&author=Marianne+Yen&pub=The+Washington+Post+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&desc=New+Jersey+Students+Charged+in+Sex+Assault+Of+Retarded+Girl&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- Student arrested, The Lewiston Journal - May 25, 1989
- Additional arrests possible after assault on mentally retarded girl, Spokane Chronicle - May 25, 1989
- "5 teenagers charged in sex attack on girl". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. May 26, 1989. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/thestar/access/470595641.html?dids=470595641:470595641&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=May+26%2C+1989&author=(AP)&pub=Toronto+Star&desc=5+teenagers+charged+in+sex+attack+on+girl&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- Sexual assault case leaves town divided, Gadsden Times - May 26, 1989
- "5 high school students are charged in assault of retarded teen-ager". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1989-05-26. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/50465290.html?dids=50465290:50465290&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=May+26%2C+1989&author=&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&desc=5+high+school+students+are+charged+in+assault+of+retarded+teen-ager&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- Template:Cite web http://www.njecpo.org/whatnew.htm
- "Boys town". Salon. Archived from the original on 2000-12-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20001216012800/http://www.salon.com/aug97/mothers/guys2970813.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- Standora, Leo (2005-02-08). "'89 RAPE SUSPECT SHOOTS 2, KILLS SELF". New York: Nydailynews.com. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2005/02/08/2005-02-08__89_rape_suspect_shoots_2__k.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge (1999), IMDB
- "Outrage in Glen Ridge". myLifetime.com. 2010-04-15. http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/outrage-glen-ridge. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- ""Our Guys" excerpt". Salon. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18. http://web.archive.org/web/20000818004621/http://www.salon.com/aug97/mothers/excerpt970813.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31.