Ex-Wolverine Taylor Lewan gets 12 months of probation
Ann Arbor – Former Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan was sentenced to 12 months of probation, and must pay more than $1,700 in restitution, contribute 96 hours of volunteer work and attend an anger management program for his involvement in an incident shortly after the Michigan-Ohio State game in 2013.
Lewan, who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors – drunk and disorderly and disturbing the peace -- in late October, appeared for his sentencing in 15th District Court on Monday with his lawyer, John Shea, as did the victim, Ryan Munsch, a 29-year-old resident of Columbus, Ohio.
Munsch, who addressed the court Monday and later spoke to reporters, said he had $15,000 in medical costs for injuries he suffered in the incident outside of the Brown Jug in the early morning of Dec. 1, 2013. Lewan, who did not speak to reporters after his court appearance, told Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines he will strive to learn during his probation period. Lewan has repeatedly said he never struck anyone but was breaking up a fight.
"It's really unfortunate, the situation," said Lewan, now with the Tennessee Titans. "This probation I'm going to take this opportunity to do the best I can to show everybody I'm not the person people perceive me as off the field."
Lewan must also pay a fine of $950 for both counts and $30 a month for 12 months in probation oversight fees. The restitution of $1714.68 covers the out-of-pocket medical expenses Munsch said he paid.
Munsch, who said he didn't know who Lewan was initially, said he took a week after the incident to discuss with family and friends whether he should press charges. He ultimately decided to press forward, he said in court, "to prevent similar events from occurring in the future."
Lewan, who was supported in court by current Michigan lineman Kyle Kalis, stood aside with Shea and listened intently while Munsch addressed the court.
Munsch later said he doesn't believe Lewan has learned from this incident.
"Based on what I've observed through a number of different sources, I think he has a lot to learn," Munsch told reporters. "He hasn't demonstrated he takes this issue very seriously, and I don't think he displays any remorse or contrition."
Shea, in his remarks to the judge, vehemently defended Lewan and challenged Munsch's recollection of the incident. He also took exception to the prosecution's mention that Lewan went to Scorekeepers Bar in Ann Arbor on Oct. 30 hours after he had entered guilty pleas for the two misdemeanors. Shea said Lewan was never told he could not go into a drinking establishment and said Lewan did not drink that evening – he stayed in town for Michigan football's homecoming – and was buying drinks for friends.
But referring back to the 2013 incident, Shea said Munsch's blood-alochol level was .197 and likely had been higher before he went to the emergency room.
"I would suggest his ability to describe with much specificity and reliability what occurred that night is pretty limited," Shea, who also declined comment to reporters, said in court. "Much of what (Munsch) said to the court is entirely inconsistent with what he told officers that responded to the scene."
Shea said video from the Brown Jug indicated Lewan exited and returned to the restaurant, and the time frame was 27 seconds, suggesting Lewan didn't have time to be part of the incident. As for a later statement from Lewan's ex-girlfriend, Alexandra Dileo, who said on Jan. 29 that Lewan was "lying" about the incident, Shea mentioned "it wasn't a pretty breakup."
"Mr. Lewan didn't instigate it that night, he did not go out looking for trouble," Shea said, adding that Lewan took a polygraph.
Munsch told reporters he believes the Ann Arbor Police Department officers who responded were protecting an athlete, but said the later investigation was thorough.
"This has nothing to do with a sports rivalry," Munsch said in court. "I am seeking justice as someone who was attacked unprovoked."
Shea said Lewan has learned from this.
"Mr. Lewan pled guilty to two offenses -- he didn't plead guilty to what he was charged with because that's not what he was guilty of," said Shea, who told the judge that 12 months of probation was excessive. "He is guilty to what he pled guilty to, and he regrets what he did that night, and he knows he has to be more careful."