Garrett Wittels, the FIU baseball player, with a record-setting 56-game hitting streak ((and, in theory, counting)) has been charged with rape in the Bahamas.
Wittels is accused of raping a 17-year-old teenage tourist on December 20th while two of Wittels' friends also face rape charges, officials said.
Robert Rothschild, 21, of New York, was accused of raping two 17-year-old girls. Jonathan Oberti, 21, also of New York, was charged with raping one.
Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez granted Wittels and the two others $10,000 bail at their Thursday arraignment in Nassau. The U.S. suspects were not required to enter pleas and returned to the country.
Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis will begin a preliminary inquiry on April 18th to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
Wittels' father, an orthopedist, told The Miami Herald that his son would be vindicated. He said his son was "devastated" by the allegations.
From the Herald:
"Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time," Michael Wittels told the Miami newspaper during a Monday morning phone interview. "He's not doing well, obviously. He's blown away. He's devastated that someone would accuse him of this."
In the Bahamas, the maximum penalty for a first-time rape offender is seven years.
Bahamian attorney Wayne Munroe, who is representing the U.S. suspects, did not immediately return calls Monday.
The Herald article also quotes "sources close to the investigation" ((read: probably the legal counsel)) that DNA samples were taken from all the suspects and that surveillance video from the Atlantis Hotel and Casino shows the women who brought the charges appearing to have consumed alcohol.
``The next morning, they found out who [Wittels] was, and that was the road they took,'' Michael Wittels said. ``He hasn't been found guilty of anything. I hope [the media] doesn't hang him for merely an allegation. That's all this is.''
Here's a little mini-doc FIU put together on Wittels and his streak...