UNH defensive back facing felony sex charge; suspended from team

Friday, October 8, 2010

UNH defensive back facing felony sex charge

CONCORD, N.H. — A University of New Hampshire football player accused of raping a woman at a party remained in jail Friday after a judge declined to release him on personal recognizance.

JeRome Wilkins, 19, of Baltimore, was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated felonious sexual assault. His lawyer, Andrew Cotrupi, asked a judge to release him Friday, saying the incident consisted of consensual sex between two highly intoxicated individuals. Rochester District Court Judge Judge Daniel Cappiello refused, setting bail at $50,000 cash or surety.

Assistant County Attorney Kathryn Smykowski said Wilkins is accused of raping a 19-year-old acquaintance who graduated from UNH in May and had returned to visit friends June 30. Witnesses found the woman partially dressed, bleeding and crying outside a house shared by numerous football players, Smykowski said.

Wilkins initially told police he had seen the woman at the party but hadn’t had sex with her.

“When confronted with the fact that his DNA was found on the victim’s clothing, he claimed he was so drunk he couldn’t remember whether or not he had sex with her,” Smykowski said. “He then all of sudden started remembering and said he did have sex with her … but claims she never told him to stop or said no.”

Cotrupi said his client, a business major, has no criminal record and has never faced any disciplinary act at the university. Wilkins has been suspended from the team, and the university likely will suspend him as well, Smykowski said.

According to the UNH athletic department’s website, Wilkins was a backup defensive back last season and sat out the 2008 season as a red-shirt.

Wilkins is due in court Oct. 22 for a probable cause hearing.

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