District Attorney Mary Barron surprised the courtroom during Eric Frimpong’s hearing yesterday by requesting a restraining order against second-year UCSB student Pat Monahan.
Barron told Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Brian Hill that Monahan had sent the woman who originally alleged rape charges against Frimpong a message via Facebook.com in an apparent attempt to intimidate her. Barron said the woman’s name should have been confidential, and suggested that Frimpong told Monahan the name of the woman.
Judge Hill said he would not rule on the restraining order until Barron submitted the request in writing.
While the issue was not raised in court, Monahan, a former roommate and teammate of Frimpong’s, posted an event on Facebook on Feb. 21 in an effort to raise money for his friend’s legal defense. Over 150 people confirmed their inclusion in the campaign to pool $25,000 to fund legal counsel.
Monahan is accepting donations for the “Eric Frimpong Legal Defense Fund” sent to his residence on Del Playa Drive.
“We know that these charges are not in Eric’s make-up. We also know that his family has no financial means to defend himself,” Monahan wrote. “The charges are very serious and must be defended. In the end, he will be found not guilty, however, the legal process is expensive.”
Meanwhile, Frimpong’s lawyer requested a gag order to restrict both attorneys and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. from speaking to the press about the case. As he did regarding the request for the restraining order, Judge Hill said he would not rule on the gag order yet, and told both Barron and Frimpong’s attorney, Robert Sanger to hammer out a compromise before Thursday’s hearing.
Barron objected to Sanger’s request, saying the public needed to remain informed.
Barron cited the second alleged victim, who came forward after charges were filed against Frimpong on Saturday, Feb. 17, and said that without media coverage the woman may not have reported the incident of sexual battery.