Sacred Heart University has apologized to a Bridgeport man who was falsely accused of a sexual assault on college letterhead last April involving a student incident at the Golden Star Café Lounge that had been shut down for two months by the state for serving underage college drinkers.
Gary Douglas, an NCAA soccer official who has worked games at SHU, filed a lawsuit last summer against the university asserting the information was falsely released on campus by university security even after it was advised by witnesses that he was not the perpetrator of the crime. A week later police arrested Alfonso Reid, who had posed as an Uber driver, as the actual rape suspect. Reid, according to police, has a history of violent crime convictions.
Douglas is represented by attorney Tom Ganim who asserted in the complaint Douglas demanded SHU “cease distribution of his likeness connected to the crimes … Thereafter, Defendants deliberately and recklessly continued to broadcast false information … The arrest of Alfonso Reid exposed the Defendant’s negligent, reckless and intentional conduct in falsely accusing Gary Douglas as the actual rapist suspect by widely publicizing and distributing his photograph.”
Sacred Heart security released a flyer that featured an image of Douglas and a security picture of Reid in his vehicle on the same page. The complaint says Douglas has little or no resemblance to Afonso Reid.
Sacred Heart Executive Director of Emergency Management and Public Safety Paul Healy issued the following apology to Douglas last month.
“On behalf of Sacred Heart University, we extend apologies for a member of my staff misidentifying you in a BOLO leaflet displayed in connection with the assault that took place on a Sacred Heart University student on April 1, 2016. We realize you had no involvement whatsoever in that incident and regret that your photograph was mistakenly displayed by security at the university.”
Ganim, citing a confidentiality agreement in the lawsuit settlement, had no comment.
The Golden Star Café is where two city police officers were accused of moonlighting as bouncers in violation of department policy.
The bar had been shut down by the state Department of Consumer Protection for two months for serving more than 80 underage Sacred Heart University students in April.