Brighton bar owner pleads guilty to charges he misled investigation into customer’s near-fatal fall

John Rogaris, owner of Roggie's, leaves Suffolk Superior Court in July 2014.
John Rogaris, owner of Roggie's, leaves Suffolk Superior Court in July 2014. –Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe

The owner of Roggie’s, a popular Brighton bar near Boston College, who allegedly directed others to move the body of a critically injured customer pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges he interfered with the subsequent investigation.

John Rogaris, 45, pleaded guilty to charges of withholding evidence during the course of a criminal investigation, witness intimidation, and two counts of misleading an investigator, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

The charges stem from a May 2014 incident involving a 20-year-old man from Ireland who fell down the stairs at Roggie’s.

Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors said they planned to introduce evidence that once the injured man was discovered, Rogaris directed others to move him to a parking lot rather than contact authorities or medical personnel.

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The man, who suffered life threatening head injuries, was discovered by a passerby, who contacted authorities, according to prosecutors.

“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.’’

Prosecutors said Rogaris lied to police on multiple occasions during the investigation, telling them that no surveillance video existed, though police later found a video showing the injured patron’s body being moved. Rogaris also allegedly contacted a witness in the case and offered financial assistance in exchange for taking the blame.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Peter Krupp sentenced Rogaris to two years in prison, suspended for two years, plus 200 hours of community service.

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