John Rogaris, owner of Roggie’s Brew and Grille on Chestnut Hill Ave., pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges in connection with misleading a police investigation regarding a near-fatal injury of a man at the Cleveland Circle bar in May 2014, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
A judge sentenced Rogaris to two years in prison, but suspended the sentence for two years. In the meantime, Rogaris will be required to serve 200 hours of community service. This week, Rogaris pleaded guilty to charges of withholding evidence during a police investigation, witness intimidation, and two counts of misleading an investigator.
Rogaris allegedly directed others to move the body of Dylan Fitzgibbon—a critically injured 20-year-old student from Ireland—who fell down the stairs inside the bar on May 23, 2014.
“This young man could have died but for the actions of passersby, and this defendant’s first impulse was to cover up and protect himself.”
-Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley
Prosecutors explained that rather than calling for help, Rogaris instructed his employees to move the man outside of the bar and leave him in a parking lot. A passerby eventually discovered Fitzgibbon and called the police. He was then transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and treated for life-threatening head injuries.
“This young man could have died but for the actions of passersby, and this defendant’s first impulse was to cover up and protect himself,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a statement. “It was, in a word, despicable. Investigative steps that could have taken hours were dragged out over days and weeks.”
During the investigation over the past year, Boston Police attempted to get video surveillance from inside and outside of Roggie’s. Prosecutors said Rogaris lied to police on multiple occasions, saying that no video existed, though police later discovered tapes that showed Fitzgibbon’s body being moved. Rogaris also allegedly contacted a witness during the investigation and offered to “take care” of his family financially if the witness took blame for the situation.
Over the past few months, Roggie’s had been engaged in a transition period with Agoro’s Pizza Bar and Grill, as it secured the lease for the locale. Owner Dimitrios Liakos confirmed over the phone that Agoro’s is scheduled to open during the third week of January 2016. They are currently waiting for the transfer of the liquor license from the City of Boston to finalize the plans.
Rogaris declined to comment on his legal situation at this time.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor