In countersuit, ex-BSU football player says he was battered, defamed in October incident

A former Boise State University football player accused in a civil suit of beating another student has filed a counterclaim that alleges he was the victim of assault and battery in the Oct. 8 incident.

Jace Richter, 18, who was released from the football team after the allegations against him went public, also asserts that he was defamed, slandered, libeled and portrayed in a false light, according to the suit filed in early December. He’s seeking in excess of $10,000 on each of six claims.

The incident occurred in a freshman dorm and became public on Oct. 13, when the attorney for student Ben Taylor, 18, filed a lawsuit, alerted local media and circulated a photo of Taylor’s puffy, bruised face taken while Taylor was in a hospital bed.

Since then, Boise police have investigated the incident and prosecutors reviewed the case. Prosecutors said they are not pursuing criminal charges against Richter.

Richter’s suit alleges that Taylor fabricated a story about the incident and then spread it via family, friends and media. Richter was dismissed from the football team on Oct. 20.

Here’s what his countersuit says happened on Oct. 8:

Following a physical fight with his roommate, Taylor was “heavily intoxicated” and “enraged” when he encountered Richter in a dorm at 1:30 a.m.

“Unprovoked, Mr. Taylor began yelling at Mr. Richter and screaming various insults at him,” the suit says. “At that time, Mr. Taylor was also suffering from notable injuries, which were noticed by Mr. Richter and other individuals at the scene, including a black eye, cuts on his face and a broken arm/wrist.”

According to the suit, Taylor pushed Richter with both hands. He then took a swing at Richter, but missed his face and struck him in the shoulder.

Witnesses to the incident said Richter then punched Taylor in the face three times, according to interviews by a private investigator. In the answer to Taylor’s suit, Richter said he reacted in self-defense after Taylor initiated an “unprovoked fight.”

Taylor’s attorney, David Claiborne, said in a statement that he and his client are aware of the counterclaim and have filed a reply denying the claims with the court.

“The civil court process will now play out over many months and Mr. Taylor remains confident in a favorable outcome,” the attorney stated. “At this time we are not further commenting upon the evidence. The evidence will become fully and publicly available at the civil trial.”

In October, Claiborne told the Statesman that how the incident started is not as important as the physical injuries his client suffered.

“There’s going to be a lot of arguments over who was drinking, and how much, who provoked it and how much. That’s a lot of noise,” Claiborne said then. “That does not give you the excuse to knock someone to the ground and beat the ever-living hell out of them. That does not excuse the conduct.”

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller