Findings of investigation forwarded to Athens DA

The investigation of rape allegations involving three Georgia student-athletes has moved to the next stage, with preliminary findings forwarded to Athens-Clarke County District Attorney <b>Ken Mauldin</b> on Wednesday.

ATHENS, Ga. --- The investigation of rape allegations involving three Georgia student-athletes has moved to the next stage, with preliminary findings forwarded to Athens-Clarke County District Attorney Ken Mauldin on Wednesday.

University of Georgia police chief Chuck Horton said Wednesday that his department has completed its investigation. The police department now awaits advice from Mauldin on the strength of the evidence and testimony that have been gathered.

No charges have been filed, though basketball players Steve Thomas and Tony Cole and football player Brandon Williams have been indefinitely suspended.

Coach Jim Harrick's Georgia basketball team played without Thomas, a starting forward, and Cole, a backup guard, for a third straight game Wednesday night against Arkansas.

Though the campus police conducted the investigation of the alleged rape of a female student at McWhorter Hall on Jan. 14, the district attorney's office is responsible for prosecuting the case if felony charges are filed.

Georgia basketball coach Jim Harrick has asked for a swift resolution of the case. It is possible that a decision could come this week on what charges, if any, will be filed.

The Athens Banner-Herald reported Wednesday that Cole had consensual sex with the victim before she was attacked by two other men.

According to a Jan. 15 affidavit filed by University of Georgia Police Detective Eric Dellinger, the victim reported that after she and Cole had consensual sex in Cole's room, Cole went into the bathroom and another man she did not know emerged from a closet and attacked her. The woman said she told the man to stop, and she said he left after failing in his attempt to rape her.

The woman says she later had sex with Thomas, whom she knew, though the affidavit does not say if that sex was consensual.

According to the affidavit, the woman said she assisted Thomas in their encounter.

However, in the police report filed on Jan. 15th, the woman said she was raped by a person she knew.

Even if there are no charges filed by the police, the players still would face a Student Judiciary hearing. That three-member committee can issue punishment as serious as dismissal from the university.


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