Cruse to enter first offender's program

Freshman defensive tackle pleads guilty to misdemeanor charge

MADISON — Gino Cruse, a redshirt freshman defensive tackle on the University of Wisconsin football team, plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property Thursday morning in Dane County Circuit Court. As part of a plea agreement, a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge was dropped and Cruse will be referred to the county's first offender's program.

If Cruse, 19, fulfills the obligations of the first offender's program, the criminal damage to property charge will be expunged from his record. If he fails to complete the program, or is charged with another crime before completing the program, he will face sentencing on the criminal damage to property charge. The terms of first offender's program contracts typically remain in effect for one year.

The misdemeanor charges stemmed from a Feb. 6 incident, in which Cruse was accused of threatening his girlfriend and breaking a window of her car.

Cruse was initially suspended indefinitely from the UW football team for violating the school's student-athlete discipline policy. But an appeals committee amended that suspension in early March and Cruse did not miss any formal practices.

The terms of Cruse's bail remain in effect as long as he is in the first offender's program: he may not threaten or direct acts of violence toward the victim and he may not consume alcohol.

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