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2nd guilty plea entered in sex assault at October 2011 party

A second young man accused of sexually assaulting a drunken woman at a party in October 2011 pleaded guilty Wednesday in Allen Superior Court.

Alexander J. Beierwalter, 22, of the 2700 block of Spring Street, pleaded guilty to criminal deviate conduct, a Class B felony. He admitted to sexually assaulting a woman while she was passed out at a party.

Along with Beierwalter, a former quarterback for the University of Saint Francis football team, 23-year-old Austin Bower and 23-year-old Troy Turner were also charged in June in connection with the October 2011 assault.

Beierwalter played in one football game for the Cougars before quitting the team a few weeks before the assault. Bower, who was a classmate of Beierwalter in high school, according to the 2011 football media guide, was a wide receiver for the Cougars but left the team during the season, school officials said.

Turner was also an athlete, having been a brief walk-on with the Saint Francis junior varsity basketball team. All three men left the school in 2011, officials said.

Bower was charged with rape, class B felony, and Turner was charged with rape and sexual battery. In December, Turner pleaded guilty to sexual battery, a class D felony. He must testify against Bower and will be sentenced in February.

According to court documents, the woman called police, saying she had taken refuge in a bathroom after she had been sexually assaulted. When police arrived at the house in the 2000 block of Neuhaus Drive, a mile from the University of Saint Francis campus, they found her in the bathroom.

She said she and two friends came to the house the night before. The woman said she had consumed a lot of vodka and felt ill and went to lie down. The next thing she remembered was someone pulling down her pants and underwear.

DNA consistent with Bower's was found at the scene. DNA consistent with Turner's was found during the course of the investigation, court records said.

"I said 'no' so many times," the woman said during an interview at Fort Wayne's Sexual Assault Treatment Center, according to court records.

On Bower's cellphone, police found three photos of the woman as she was lying on a bed and being held by a man. In two other photos, it appears a man is sexually assaulting her, according to court documents.

When the father of the woman's child confronted Bower about the case, he said, "How am I supposed to tell you what really happened without you calling the police," according to court documents.

Brought in by the Fort Wayne Police Department for questioning, Beierwalter consented to give a DNA sample, court records said.

During Wednesday's hearing, Beierwalter sat in his dark suit next to two men in orange jail jumpsuits. Allen County Magistrate Sam Keirns asked him how he pleaded to the charge.

"Guilty," Beierwalter said, quietly, his eyes on the table in front of him.

His attorney asked him if he sexually assaulted the woman while she was passed out.

"Yeah," he said.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Beierwalter faces no more than a three-year sentence in prison or on alternative sentencing. He must testify truthfully in Bower's pending trial.

Beierwalter will also register as a sex offender, but can petition the court to have his name removed from the registry when he has fulfilled all the obligations in his case, according to court documents.

Class B felony charges, to which Beierwalter pleaded guilty, are punishable by six to 20 years in prison, with the advisory sentence set at 10 years.

Beierwalter will be sentenced in late March.

Bower is set for trial later this month.

rgreen@jg.net

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