Bouncer Accused Of Raping Wheaton College Student
NORTON (CBS) – The rape allegations against a bouncer at a Norton bar have hit hard on the campus of Wheaton College. A 21-year-old female student says she was raped by 38-year-old Paul Panaikis on February 2 when she was at the Sportsway Café with friends, a popular off-campus bar.
She claims Panaikis forced her into a closet and sexually assaulted her. Assistant District Attorney Mark Donovan says, according to a witness, other bouncers tried to keep the friends away. “He went over to investigate. One of the other bouncers kind of blocked his path. He went back over with some friends and they began banging on the door. When the door finally opened the victim was on a chair crying,” he said.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports
Panaikis, a 19 year active Army veteran, with no prior criminal record, tells a much different story. His attorney James Caramanica says he was “stalked” by the student and was not someone preying on college women. He says Panaikis even offered to take a lie detector test which police never gave him.
Panaikis refused questions when leaving Attleboro District Court after his girlfriend posted $5,000 bail.
Wheaton College issued a statement saying , “Our top priority is the safety of our students. We continue to urge students to be aware of their surroundings, both on and off campus.”
Students say it’s opened the door for discussion about personal safety. “These kinds of assaults are really alarming,” said student Libby Froeber. “You want to feel safe on campus.”
Another student, Jonathan Korns said, “If in fact the person did what he’s accused of doing, it’s a real shame. He’s a bouncer and he’s supposed to be there to protect people, not hurt them.”
Prosecutors say alcohol was not a factor in the alleged incident. The defense questions why it took the alleged victim eight days to file the report, and did not submit to an exam at the hospital that night.