The owner of a bar in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston is facing charges that he withheld evidence, intimidated witnesses and lied to the police after an Irish student nearly died at his bar in May.
The 20-year-old Irishman, identified as Dylan Fitzgibbon, a student from University College Cork who was in Boston for a summer internship, fell down a flight of stairs at Roggie’s Brew and Grille in the early morning hours of May 23. He sustained severe head and neck injuries.
Fitzgibbon – an underage patron – was found unconscious by employees shortly before closing time. Owner John Rogaris, 44, was informed of the situation by the bar manager and allegedly instructed his employees to take the man out to the parking lot and call 911.
They reportedly followed the first part of Rogaris’ instructions, but not the latter. Fitzgibbon was found in the parking lot half-an-hour later by passersby, who called the police. He arrived at a nearby hospital in serious condition.
Police launched an investigation into the incident shortly after, but say that Rogaris and his staff claimed on multiple occasions that the bar’s surveillance cameras were not operating or had failed to capture footage.
After they obtained a search warrant for the surveillance system, police discovered video of two men carrying an unconscious person out of the bar’s back door at 2:34 am on May 23, and later footage of Rogaris apparently trying to tamper with the system.
One of the witnesses has also claimed that Rogaris attempted to bribe him to take the blame for the incident.
Rogaris was arraigned yesterday at a Boston court, where he pleaded not guilty to all charges. His next court date is August 14. Roggie’s is temporarily shuttered.
Fitzgibbon attended the hearing wearing a black protective helmet, which he has used since the accident to prevent any further injury as he recovers. His attorney, Bill Dailey, told reporters Fitzgibbon will need further surgery at some point in the future.
“Dylan’s here on an internship. He was hoping to spend a wonderful summer in Boston,’’ Dailey told the Boston Globe. “On Memorial Day weekend, his parents got a call in Ireland to inform them that their son was potentially in a life-threatening condition at the hospital.”
He said that his client, who has no memory of the events, and his family, simply want answers.
Rogaris’ defense attorney, Alan Rose, told local station Channel 7 News “the allegations in the indictment are just that, they’re allegations, they’re proof of nothing, but we look forward to defending Mr. Rogaris in this matter.”