Mitchell College student pleads guilty to sexual assault

A Mitchell College student has pleaded guilty in New London Superior Court to sexually assaulting another student after a night of drinking in October 2016 and will be sentenced next month to three years of probation.

Cole Reck, 19, of 45 Chester Main Road, North Stonington, pleaded guilty Monday to fourth-degree sexual assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree unlawful restraint, all misdemeanor offenses. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein will sentence him May 21 to three years in prison, fully suspended, and three years of probation. Reck is writing a letter of apology to the victim and will be prohibited for life from contact with her under a standing criminal protective order.

The victim was in court with her father for the plea hearing and is expected to speak at the sentencing.

According to court documents, the 18-year-old female and Reck were drinking at a party in the college's Matteson dormitory on Oct. 30, 2016. The female felt sick and wanted to return to her dormitory. She walked back and said Reck and his roommate, who also lived in the Saunders dorm, ended up in her dormitory room helping to clean up after she vomited.

Reck stayed in the room as the victim was in and out of sleep, and she said he was in her bed and both were partially undressed when she woke up some time later. She told him to leave. She told her resident advisor about the incident the next morning and was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for a rape kit examination in accordance with Mitchell College policy, according to the court record. She went to New London police on Nov. 1, after speaking with her parents.

Reck contended the woman had asked him to have sex with her and that it was consensual.

The case was prosecuted by Windham State's Attorney Anne Mahoney to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, since Reck's father, attorney Stephen M. Reck, practices civil law and is known to many of the attorneys in the New London court system. Reck was represented by New Britain attorney Kevin C. Ferry and New Haven attorney John Williams also came into the case when it appeared to be headed for trial, according to the court record.

The court record indicates that Mitchell held disciplinary hearings following the incident, but the outcome of the hearings is unclear. A spokeswoman for the college said Mitchell is unable under federal law to disclose any information related to the case.

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