Prosecutor: 3 Arkansas basketball players under investigation for rape at fraternity house

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prosecutor weighs rape case against 3 Ark. players

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Three University of Arkansas basketball players are under investigation after an alleged rape at a campus fraternity house, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Dustin Roberts told Rogers television station KHOG that charges could be filed as early as Wednesday afternoon. Roberts did not name the players and did not return a call from The Associated Press.

University police Lt. Gary Crane told the AP that a female student filed a complaint claiming she was raped on Aug. 27 at the Phi Gamma Delta house. Crane said the alleged attack happened between 1:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. at the house, which is a block away from Bud Walton Arena where the basketball team plays.

It was “an acquaintance-type situation” that involved alcohol, Crane said. The campus police agency declined to file charges after its own investigation.

“The University of Arkansas Police Department did not feel at the time that there was probable cause to make an arrest, and it was sent to the prosecutor’s office for essentially a warrant review to see if there’s enough evidence that we believe sufficient to issue a warrant,” Roberts told KHOG.

Crane declined to identify those under investigation.

A spokesman at Phi Gamma Delta’s national headquarters in Lexington, Ky., did not immediately return a call for comment.

University spokesman Steve Voorhies referred questions to the athletic department. Athletic director Jeff Long said the department was aware of an investigation and that its players had cooperated fully with police and prosecutors. It did not specify which sport was involved.

“We will not speculate on any allegations,” Long said in a statement. “We will wait for the prosecutor’s office to assess the case and determine how the matter should proceed.”

The Razorbacks’ basketball team has had its share of off-the-court issues. Coach John Pelphrey has disciplined players several times in his two seasons as coach, including at the end of last season when he suspended Jason Henry days before the Southeastern Conference tournament for an unspecified violation of team rules. Henry is no longer with the team.

After leaving Arkansas in August 2008, guard Patrick Beverley said somebody wrote a paper for him while he was with the Razorbacks. Earlier this year, the program was put on notice by the NCAA about its low academic-progress rate.

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