Two students accept plea bargain
By Brendan Dooley, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 16, 2010
Andrew Lohse ’12 and Sarah Koo ’10 accepted plea bargains during separate hearings at the Lebanon District Court on Wednesday in connection with a May 13 incident at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity involving suspected cocaine use. The penalties for charges against Lohse and Koo were reduced in an agreement negotiated by Grafton County police prosecutor Christopher O’Connor.
Facing charges of cocaine possession, witness tampering and unlawful possession and intoxication, Lohse entered pleas of no contest for the charges of cocaine possession and witness tampering and a guilty plea for the unlawful possession and intoxication violation charge, according to the official court complaint.
The no contest plea legally indicates that a defendant will not challenge or claim guilt for a charge.
The felony charge of cocaine possession was dropped to a Class B misdemeanor and subject to a $750 fine for the charge. If the charge had been treated as a Class A misdemeanor, Lohse would have faced a maximum fine of $2,000 and a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Lohse, who was arrested on May 19 for cocaine possession and witness tampering, entered a plea of no contest to the Class A misdemeanor charge of witness tampering. Lohse was found guilty of unlawful possession and intoxication. In conjunction with his sentence, Lohse was fined $500 and agreed to not commit any violation, felony offense or misdemeanor over the next year, with a stipulation that if he does, he will be committed to spend ten days in a “house of corrections,” according to court documents.
Lohse allegedly spat on Philip Aubart ’10 and poured out a beer on the door of Aubart’s room in the fraternity’s physical plant after Aubart notified Safety and Security of the alleged cocaine use, The Dartmouth previously reported.
Lohse and his attorney, Claude Buttrey of Schuster, Buttrey & Wing, declined to comment for this article.
Koo plead no contest to a Class B misdemeanor for “knowingly [having] in her possession a controlled drug,” according to the official court complaint obtained by The Dartmouth. As part of Koo’s plea bargain, her charge was amended to replace the word “cocaine” from the charge with the phrase “controlled drug.”
Koo, who was represented by attorney Tim Clark of DesMeules Olmstead & Ostler, will have to pay a state recommended fine of $1,000 as part of her negotiated plea.
During court proceedings, prosecutors cited Koo and Lohse’s lack of a previous criminal record as a basis for offering the plea agreement.
Koo was arrested in May for cocaine possession after being identified in a police photo lineup by another female student, The Dartmouth previously reported. Koo was one of four students arrested in the aftermath of the May 13 incident at SAE.
Koo declined to comment for this article.
During court proceedings, prosecutors cited Koo and Lohse’s lack of any previous criminal record in offering the plea agreement.
O’Connor did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Lohse would be sent to a "house of corrections" for 10 days when in fact, this will only occur if he commits another violation, felony offense or misdemeanor in the next year. Additionally, the original version of this article incorrectly stated that Koo plead guilty to the charges when in fact she plead no contest.