Crime

NC State football dismisses 2 players, suspends 3 amid sex-assault investigation

NC State freshman football players Kevince Brown, left, and Antoine Thompson were dismissed from the team after participating in an on-campus gathering on July 21, 2017 where alcohol and marijuana were present. Three other players were suspended from game play.
NC State freshman football players Kevince Brown, left, and Antoine Thompson were dismissed from the team after participating in an on-campus gathering on July 21, 2017 where alcohol and marijuana were present. Three other players were suspended from game play. NC State

Two N.C. State University freshman football players have been dismissed and three others have been suspended amid an investigation into reports of sexual assaults at a party last month.

No charges have been filed in the case that stems from three reports of sexual assaults at the Wolf Village student-housing complex on July 21. The five football players could face charges related to underage drinking and drugs, but NCSU Police Chief Jack Moorman did not say they are targets of the sexual-assault investigation.

Antoine Thompson and Kevince Brown have been dismissed from the team, while Isaiah Moore, Erin Collins and Xavier Lyas have been suspended for violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, according to head football coach Dave Doeren.

The code of conduct includes a policy that says student-athletes must abide by North Carolina laws regarding alcohol. Police said they determined the players were at a party July 21 that involved alcohol and marijuana use. All five players are under the legal drinking age.

University police are working with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether the men will face any criminal charges, Moorman said. District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Tuesday that the investigation is continuing and that investigators still had hours of videotaped interviews to review.

“The criminal investigation is something we’re not prepared to talk about at this time,” Moorman said during a news conference Tuesday.

Moorman said fewer than a dozen people attended a private party at one of the five football player’s rooms at Wolf Village near Western Boulevard. The five players were there, along with the three women who filed reports of sexual assault.

While police are leading a criminal investigation, the university is conducting a Title IX investigation. Violations of the school’s Student Code of Conduct could lead to more disciplinary actions by the school, including expulsion, according to the university.

Title IX refers to the federal law that prohibits discrimination at educational institutions based on sex, religion or race.

The university police notified the athletic department of the players involved on Aug. 8, according to the school. The players were disciplined by Doeren over the course of the next two days.

On Tuesday, N.C. State’s athletics department released the names of the five football players. Doeren said in a statement that the five freshmen “made poor decisions that don’t align with the values of our program and each has been handled accordingly.”

“Although I’ve disciplined these players for violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, I want to make it clear that I respect due process in the University and legal proceedings,” Doeren said. “Our players understand that I’m going be firm, but fair when it comes to discipline.”

NC State police chief Jack Moorman briefs reporters on information that led to disciplinary actions against five NC State football players. The alleged violations came to light during an investigation of sexual assault allegations by three women.

Thompson was a freshman receiver for the team, and Brown was a freshman defensive end. Both are no longer enrolled at N.C. State, according to athletic director Debbie Yow.

The three others are suspended from competition but remain on the team: Lyas, a defensive end; Collins, a running back; and Moore, a linebacker.

None of the players were expected to make a huge impact for the Wolfpack team this fall.

Investigation

Moorman said police have spent about 800 hours investigating the sexual-assault claims, including through interviews, search warrants involving cellphones, the residence where the alleged assaults took place and video from campus security cameras.

A team of four detectives is assigned to the case and is working with the district attorney’s office, Moorman said.

The alleged assaults happened between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. July 21 at Timber Hall, a student apartment building at Wolf Village.

Moorman has said there were three separate sexual assaults reported, and the alleged victims knew the men who they said assaulted them.

“It was not a stranger assault,” Moorman said.

Late last month, police made public incident reports that indicated two of the students told police they had been raped, while the third student told police she was the victim of sexual battery.

One of the cases is being investigated as second-degree forcible rape after the alleged victim told police a suspect had sexual intercourse with her after she was given alcoholic beverages and an unnamed drug, according to one incident report.

A second case is being investigated as second-degree rape. Alcohol was determined to not be a factor in that case or in the sexual battery case, according to the incident reports.

A person convicted of second-degree forcible rape can spend between four and 14 years in prison, according to North Carolina’s general statutes. Someone found guilty of sexual battery can spend up to 150 days in jail.

‘Difficult situation’

N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson on Tuesday praised the ongoing investigations and the disciplinary actions taken by the athletics program.

“Throughout this very difficult situation, N.C. State has remained dedicated to completing thorough criminal and Title IX investigations, while providing due process and needed support to those involved,” Woodson said in a statement. “As these investigations continue, I appreciate the hard work of our University Police, strong support from the District Attorney’s office, and the responsiveness of Athletic’s leadership based on information provided at this point.”

Staff writers Joe Giglio and Anne Blythe contributed.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald

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