Former Norwich Free Academy assistant coach charged with sexual assault

Police mobile command and investigation vehicle is seen Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, parked in front of Tirrell Building at Norwich Free Academy. The vehicle arrived at NFA about 4:30 p.m., and police detectives were seen shortly before then departing the academy administrative building. (Claire Bessette/The Day)
Police mobile command and investigation vehicle is seen Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, parked in front of Tirrell Building at Norwich Free Academy. The vehicle arrived at NFA about 4:30 p.m., and police detectives were seen shortly before then departing the academy administrative building. (Claire Bessette/The Day)

Anthony D. Facchini
Anthony D. Facchini

Norwich — Norwich police have arrested a former Norwich Free Academy assistant track, soccer and football coach on two charges of second-degree sexual assault for alleged relations with two students.

Police, joined by the FBI and New London County State’s Attorney’s Office, also executed search and seizure warrants at the NFA campus Wednesday afternoon.

Anthony D. Facchini, 25, of 210 Broadway was arrested at 11 a.m. on a warrant and charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault. He was released on a $75,000 bond Wednesday evening and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 20 in Norwich Superior Court. The arrest warrant is sealed as the investigation is ongoing, police said in a news release.

The identities of the two alleged victims are protected and will remain confidential, police said.

Police Lt. Chris Conley said in the release that the arrest was the result of an investigation into a report made to the state Department of Children and Families in June alleging Facchini had an "inappropriate relationship" with a student of Norwich Free Academy while he was employed as a coach at that school. Further investigation revealed Facchini had sexual relations with two students of NFA beginning in 2017, while he was on staff as an athletic coach at the school, Conley wrote in the news release Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, about 1:30 p.m., under the direction of the New London County State's Attorney's Office, the Norwich Police Department served a search and seizure warrant at NFA with the assistance of the FBI Computer Analysis Response Team and the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit. The search warrant also is sealed at this time, Conley wrote in the release.

The investigation remains open and active.

Police detectives still were seen on campus with the city department’s mobile command and investigation vehicle at 4:30 p.m. parked in front of the Tirrell Building. Detectives were seen exiting the rear of the Allis House administration building. An NFA staff person at the building said the academy would have no comment on the visit, referring a reporter to Norwich police.

Former NFA Athletic Director Eric Swallow resigned Monday. School officials would not say if his resignation was connected with the police investigation.

NFA board of trustees Chairwoman Sarette Williams said later Wednesday that all statements regarding the investigation would come through the NFA communications office. “As chair of the board of trustees, I have been in contact and remain in contact with the head of school, and my view is that all communication will go through the Communications Department at NFA,” she said.

NFA Director of Communications Geoff Serra and Head of School David Klein had not responded to requests for comment by late Wednesday night.

Police acknowledged on Aug. 25 that since June they have been investigating allegations of sexual assault by a former NFA staffer and one or more students. On the same day, NFA officials released a statement and sent a letter home to NFA parents that the academy was cooperating with the investigation.

“There is an ongoing police investigation at Norwich Free Academy into a former employee’s alleged inappropriate conduct,” the statement from Klein said on Aug. 25. “NFA has terminated its relationship with the subject of the investigation. The individual is no longer affiliated with NFA in any capacity. We have fully cooperated with the Norwich Police Department in connection with this matter and will continue to do so. Every day, student safety and well-being are our highest priority.”

Facchini was a star track athlete at NFA and graduated in 2011. He was hired as an assistant coach at NFA in the winter of 2016-17 and was named an assistant football coach last fall.

He and his sister, Luigina Facchini, had been partner-owners in Rose City Athletics, a cross-fit gymnasium which opened in fall 2017 at 40 Franklin St. in downtown Norwich. Luigina Facchini said Wednesday that Anthony Facchini ceased being affiliated with the business in June.

c.bessette@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects that Anthony Facchini ceased being affiliated with Rose City Athletics in June.

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