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3 U. SWIMMERS FACE CHARGES IN BEATING

Two University of Utah swimmers and a former teammate face criminal charges for attacking two students in a dorm room.

Scott Wester, 21, was charged with aggravated assault and burglary. Rupert Bryce, 25, who no longer is on the team, and Eric Gustafson, 20, were charged with simple assault and burglary.Police said the trio attacked Tom Martinez and Alfred Martin in a dorm room early on Feb. 6. The fight came after Martin, a dancer at the U., reportedly pushed one of the swimmer's girlfriends down stairs at a party a few hours before.

The swimmers and a fourth individual who has not been charged tracked down Martin at Baliff Hall. They pushed their way in the room and allegedly stomped on Martinez' head and kicked him repeatedly, police said. He suffered a broken nose and skull fractures.

Martin was hit in the face but left the state fearing for his life, said deputy district attorney Roger Blaylock.

"We had some information that he had been threatened . . . that made it difficult in identifying who the assailants were," he said.

Blaylock said investigators are still looking into the threats and charges may be filed if enough evidence emerges.

Campus police said the attacks were an act of drunken retribution, but friends and family of the victims contended the beatings were racially motivated. Martin is black and Martinez is Latino.

Their concerns and the delay before charges were filed last week resulted in the Office of Civil Rights looking into the incident.

Blaylock and police Sgt. Earl Mckee said they believe race had little to do with the attacks, however.

Wester and Gustafson were suspended for one swim meet but will probably appear before the school's student behavior committee, McKee said. The body can suspend or expell students for violation of campus codes, or the swimmers could be removed from the team.