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BRIDGEPORT -- Both of the Sacred Heart University men's soccer players accused of sexually assaulting a female student Saturday night were hopeful of playing professional soccer, while one of the two is a criminal justice major pursuing a potential career as a police officer.
Brian Francolini and Justin Brewer had both been starters since their freshman years, and the two were among the team's leaders in several statistical categories, including points, goals and assists.
Francolini, a criminal justice major, said in his team biography he hopes to either play soccer after college or become a police officer. Brewer, majoring in sports management, said he hopes to continue his soccer career professionally.
The two were removed from the team's roster following the charges, which were filed by Bridgeport police Saturday night after a female student was taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center and told police of the alleged assault.
Bill Peterson, the school's sports information director, said Tuesday that no one from the athletic department would be commenting on the case, and referred all questions to university public relations director Funda Alp.
Asked whether Francolini and Brewer had been kicked off the soccer team or merely suspended while the judicial process played out, Alp responded with an updated version of a statement issued Monday.
"The safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority," she said. "Any members of our community involved in violations of personal safety are fully suspended from the University pending a judicial review. This is not a judgment of guilt or innocence but a precaution in anticipation of a full finding of facts. Sacred Heart University takes allegations of sexual assault very seriously. We will continue our efforts to ensure a community that is both safe and secure."
Francolini, 20, was charged with second-degree sexual assault and was released after posting $25,000 bond. Brewer, 22, was charged with criminal liability for acts of another and second-degree sexual assault and was released after posting a $5,000 bond.
Francolini, from Ellington, and Brewer, from neighboring Somers, are both junior forwards. In 2011, Brewer finished second on the team with five goals, while Francolini finished third with three. Brewer led the team with 14 points, while Francolini finished third with 11, and Francolini and Brewer were first and second on the team in assists, with five and four, respectively.
The two have also played together on the Western Mass. Pioneers USL Premier Development League team, based in Ludlow, Mass.
Sacred Heart has recently dealt with other arrests of members of its athletic teams.
In July, reserve football player Brett Swider was charged with drug possession and sale of narcotics after police said they found Oxycodone pills in his car during a traffic stop. The charges against Swider are pending and he is due in court Feb. 16.
Three members of the Pioneers men's lacrosse team were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault after an incident in a Sacred Heart dorm room in 2009. The charges were dropped in 2010 when the state determined it wouldn't be able to sustain its burden of proof. The the trio apologized to the alleged victim in court.
Staff writers Daniel Tepfer, Tom Cleary and Ben Doody contributed to this report.