Former Boston College football player Craig Parsons and another man he played high school football with have been charged with beating a homeless man unconscious, police said. Anthony Varrichione, a former quarterback at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has been charged along with Parsons. The two men were arraigned in Massachusetts Superior Court Wednesday on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery causing bodily harm. Both have pleaded not guilty.
A grand jury investigation over the past three months, authorities said, concluded that Parsons, 22, and Varrichione, 23, were the two men who allegedly kicked and punched a 50-year-old man around 2 a.m. on Jan. 26, who was homeless and panhandling at the time, until he was unconscious. Police later identified the victim as Michael Hudson. Some 17 witnesses claim to have seen the attack that was said to have occurred after Hudson refused to leave the area. Authorities further claim that during the investigation Parsons attempted to intimidate at least one witness by telling them not to identify him.
One of the witnesses, a female passerby, threw herself on top of the victim in an attempt to shield him from the assailants after the men slammed Hudson’s head into the sidewalk several times, according to prosecutors. Hudson was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition and remained for three days due to having suffered a brain hemorrhage as a result of the attack. He has no memory of the assault, according to reports.
Boston College has reportedly suspended Parsons, a senior who was slated to graduate in May, and barred him from the campus pending the outcome of the case. Both men, who were teammates at Xaverian Brother Catholic High School in Westwood, Mass., were released on their own recognizance. Attorneys for both men have characterized their arrests as a case of mistaken identity and say they have every belief that they will be exonerated. Parson’s attorney, Michael Doolin, said Parsons is a very good person from a very good family and he is looking forward for the facts to come out at the trial, according to reports. Varrichione’s attorney, Tim Flaherty, reportedly said that his client is hopeful that a full examination of the circumstances will prove his innocence.
Parsons, a 6’6″, 253 pound tight end, was a standout defensive lineman in high school at Xaverian Brothers. As a senior in 2008, he was elected to the All-State team by the Massachusetts Football Association and earned All-Catholic honors. After one year at Northeastern in 2009-10, he transferred to Boston College, arriving as a defensive end then making the switch to tight end prior to the 2012 season. As a sophomore in 2012, he played in all 12 games. As a junior in 2013, Parsons started in all 13 games and caught a career-high two touchdown passes against Florida State. For the season, he caught nine passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns. The 6’4″, 225 pound Varrichione graduated from Marist this past Fall and was a backup quarterback during the 2011 season.
Commentary by Rick Sarlat