Satterfield pleads to lesser charge, agrees to testify against Everson

BY SAM LANE | APRIL 12, 2010 7:30 AM

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Abe Satterfield, a former Hawkeye football player originally accused of second- and third-degree sexual abuse, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on April 9 and will testify against former teammate Cedric Everson in connection with the incident.

The 21-year-old was set to go to trial today for allegedly sexually assaulting a female Hawkeye athlete in Hillcrest in October 2007. Instead, Satterfield pleaded guilty to assault with intent to inflict serious injury, an aggravated misdemeanor, and he will be sentenced on July 23.

Satterfield had faced a penalty of up to 25 years and 10 years in prison for the two charges, respectively. He now faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison, and he will be required to pay a fine between $625 and $6,250. He may be subject to a five year no-contact order with the accuser.

Satterfield signed the admission in Pennsylvania, where he plays football for Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

His Des Moines-based defense attorney, Alfredo Parrish, said these particular cases involve a lot of investigation during which facts need to be “worked out” in order to get the case resolved.

“It’s been a very difficult process for [Satterfield] and his family,” Parrish said. “He wishes he could have stayed at Iowa and with Coach Ferentz.”

Satterfield was dismissed from the Hawkeye football team in 2007.

“Anytime a witness is called, he’s supposed to tell the truth,” Parrish said about Satterfield’s testimony in Everson’s trial, set to start July 12. “In each interview he’s had, he’s told the truth. That would bear out. That’s all he’s going to do if he’s called.”

Assistant Johnson County prosecutor Anne Lahey said the agreement was simply a product of “negotiations.”

“We obviously thought [Satterfield’s testimony] was a consideration,” Lahey said. “We checked with the victim, and she was OK with it.”

However, citing Everson’s pending trial, Lahey declined to comment on whether she felt justice was served with the agreement.

Karla Miller, the executive director for the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, said victims are often relieved if they don’t have to testify in open court.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said because Satterfield withdrew from the university, the matter has been handled by the courts system.

At the time of the incident, some were concerned with the way UI officials handled the situation. UI President Sally Mason fired two top officials after an external report criticized their responses to the incident.

“There has been an intensive review of our policies,” Moore said. “They have been updated and revised. The most important aspect of that process is to make clear to everyone involved how cases should be handled.”

UI law Professor Linda McGuire said it’s not uncommon for a codefendant to testify against other codefendants.

“Is the justice system set up so these things can happen? The answer is yes,” she said. “It’s up to the prosecutor, the victim has had a say, the defendants have lawyers looking out for them, and the prosecutor is looking out for the public.”

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