Thursday, April 19, 2018
Public safety

After responses to rape accusation, Tarpon Springs father defends daughter

TARPON SPRINGS — He read the tweets, the derogatory statements about his daughter. And after the fury passed, he crafted a response.

The father of the Tarpon Springs High School teen who has accused a male schoolmate of rape said Tuesday that he wrote a nine-paragraph statement to defend her.

"Trust me, I wanted to say so much more," he said. "And I will after the state is done handling the case."

The Tampa Bay Times is withholding his name to protect the identity of his daughter.

The accused, 17-year-old Jared Alissandratos, was charged last week with sexually battering an intoxicated 15-year-old girl during a house party.

Alissandratos, a winner of the 2012 cross dive during the city's Greek Orthodox Epiphany celebration, faces a charge of sexual battery of the physically incapacitated girl, a first-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

He admitted having sex with his accuser, a police report said, though it is unclear whether he believed it was consensual.

After Alissandratos' arrest, some Tarpon High students took to Twitter, using the hashtag #FreeJared and calling the young victim, among an array of insulting terms, "a liar." Others lashed back, defending her.

The social media melee attracted the loosely organized "hacktivist" group Anonymous, notorious for targeting the FBI, credit card companies and, more recently, apparent rapists. When two football players in Steubenville, Ohio, were accused of rape last year, Anonymous hacked the football team's website, threatening to disclose personal information.

The Tarpon Springs girl's father said he wanted to clear his daughter's name without revealing it. This week, he contacted Twitter user "Priest," who self-identifies as an Anonymous member, to post and publicize the message.

"She is not having 'next day' regrets," he wrote in the statement. "It wasn't until the accused admitted to her what happened that she fully realized the horrific reality of what happened that night."

The father also described disappointment in his daughter's decisions that night, which, according to police, included underage drinking.

"Her lapse in judgment, however, does not condone the actions of the accused," he wrote.

Eventually, he said Tuesday, she will resume her studies at Tarpon High. Once the case is over, he believes, the bullying will stop.

Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224.

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