MANSFIELD, Mass. — People attending a concert by country singer Keith Urban Saturday watched the possible rape of a 17-year-old girl. Some took pictures. Others shot video, many not realizing they were witnessing what the victim says was an assault.
Sean Murphy, 18, of West Roxbury, Mass., has been charged with one count of rape. He pleaded innocent at his arraignment Monday, saying the encounter was consensual.
Police say the two teens met at the concert, which took place at the Xfinity Center, 30 miles south of Boston. Both were drinking.
The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle reported Wednesday the two had been kissing in front of a concession stand before moving to the lawn. According to the police report, the incident continued in front of a crowd until a woman approached the girl on the ground and asked if the encounter was consensual. When the victim told her no, the witness pushed the suspect off the girl and she broke free and ran away. According to the report, Murphy "stressed that he did not force himself on her."
At Monday's arraignment, prosecutor Melissa Tafe said the accuser told police she was afraid not to go with Murphy.
Murphy's defense attorney, Neil Crowley, told The Boston Globe: "This was a private act that regrettably occurred in a public place. Mr. Murphy deeply regrets this incident, and I'm sure the young woman does as well."
Murphy, who lives with his parents, does not have a previous arrest record.
Police have gathered some of the footage and photos of the encounter as evidence.
Dozens of the 18,000 people who attended Saturday's concert were arrested, with 50 placed in protective custody. Forty-six people were treated for alcohol-related illness, with 22 transported to local hospitals. The situation became so chaotic that officials required assistance from five nearby towns.
Update: On Thursday afternoon, Urban posted the following statement to his website: "My team and I were horrified to learn of the events reported in Boston this past weekend and our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected. This type of behavior stands in stark contrast to the spirit of our shows."