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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)
BRANDON SHULLEETA

Three Virginia Commonwealth University soccer players have been charged with filming a nude minor without consent.

All three males charged are freshmen, according to VCU's athletics Web page, and they have been suspended from the team, VCU spokeswoman Anne Buckley wrote in a brief statement.

"I think somebody was trying to play a prank on a suitemate, and what I hear is a young girl was filmed," said John W. Luxton, a local criminal defense attorney representing defendant Donovan Thiago Arias, of Lorton.

According to online court records, the other suspects are Bobby Joe Hopper of Cumming, Ga., and Finnlay L. Wyatt of Midlothian.

All three are charged with a Class 6 felony, according to online court records. If convicted, the men could face up to five years in prison.

Luxton said the girl was 17 years old at the time, and the filming apparently happened inside a VCU dormitory.

"Certainly there was no intent to cause anybody embarrassment," Luxton said. "It truly was guys who are living together for months, (practicing) together, studying together. You know, they pull pranks on each other, and somehow this young lady got caught up in the prank."

Luxton said he's still not sure exactly what the prank entailed and what, if any, role his client might have had. Luxton said he has filed a motion to get prosecutors' evidence in the case.

Buckley provided no details about the allegations.

However, Buckley wrote that in addition to the criminal charges, VCU is also "pursuing internal investigations from both a student code of conduct standpoint and through federal Title IX avenues."

Title IX aims, in part, to prevent sex-based discrimination in educational settings, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The young men were arrested this month after being indicted by a grand jury in connection with an offense that occurred in November, according to court records.

A trial date has not been set.

As a Midlothian High School student, Wyatt had been named the 2013 All-Metro player of the year in boys soccer by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. bshulleeta@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6391

Twitter: @ShulleetaRTD

 

February 20, 2014
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