2 NU athletes charged with disorderly conduct

Scott Gordon

Four men, including two Northwestern football players, were arrested Saturday night and charged with trying to force their way into an Evanston resident’s house.

Among those arrested were junior offensive linemen Scott Crohn and William Newton, both 21, said Cmdr. Michael Perry of Evanston Police Department.

NU head coach Randy Walker at his weekly press conference Monday said the two players have been suspended from the football team indefinitely. Walker declined to comment further on the incident.

Also arrested were Anthony Bytnar, 21, and Colin Gainer, 19, both of Portage, Ind. Bytnar and Gainer are students at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

All four men face misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct and are scheduled to appear Nov. 10 at Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie.

Evanston resident Jessica Donnelly said she was sitting on her living room couch with her sister and a friend about 10 p.m. on Saturday when she heard people running onto the porch of her residence on the 900 block of Hamlin Street.

She told The Daily that she looked out the front window and saw five men, apparently drunk, approaching the main door of the building. Police reports also mentioned that the men appeared to be intoxicated.

The men entered the small front foyer through the main door and then began trying to force their way in through the vestibule door, police said. Donnelly’s sister and her friend, Melissa Stoller, said she reached and pushed shut the unlocked door just as one of the men began to open it.

“We had no idea who they were,” said Stoller, a University of Chicago professor.

The men began shouting that they were coming to get a certain NU student, police said. Donnelly said she told the men that the student they named didn’t live there.

The men did not to leave and kept trying to push the door open, according to the police report. Police said when she told the men she was going to call the police, they replied, “We are the police.”

The EPD officer who responded to the call reported seeing four men run from the porch as he drove up. Several EPD and University Police officers arrested the men across the street from the house, Perry said.

Crohn and Newton could not be reached for comment. Gainer declined to comment. Bytnar denied being arrested.

The fifth man left the scene before the others were arrested and has not been identified, Perry said.

Donnelly, who hosted a neighborhood meeting last year to discuss problems with student-resident relations, said the incident has frightened her, as well as her family and neighbors.

“My 4-year-old child now does not think her home is safe,” she said.

Donnelly said she’s determined to press charges and see the case through. She said she would send a registered letter to the NU Athletic Department to request that Crohn and Newton are “reprimanded and held accountable” for the actions they are accused of committing.

Donnelly also sent a “strongly worded” letter Monday to NU President Henry Bienen. She said Bienen responded quickly and set up a meeting where the two will discuss the allegations and possible ramifications.

Donnelly said she also hopes to get the university to provide for more disciplinary action against students who cause disturbances in the community. Two years ago an NU basketball player was kicked off the team after being charged with beating a man unconscious just two doors down from Donnelly’s house.

“We’ve all just had problem after problem after problem,” she said.