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Palm Beach Post (Florida)

The University of Miami dismissed linebackers JaWand Blue and Alex Figueroa after both admitted to police they drugged and raped a 17-year-old girl last weekend.

Blue, 20, and Figueroa, who turned 20 on Tuesday, were arrested early Tuesday morning by Coral Gables police on charges of sexual battery on a victim who was "physically helpless to resist."

Blue played at West Boca Raton High and lives in Delray Beach.

UM Athletic Director Blake James said he "permanently dismissed" Blue and Figueroa from the football team, suspended them from school and barred them from campus as UM conducts its investigation.

"Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the university will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus," James said in a statement. "We hold all of our students -- especially student-athletes -- to the highest standards of moral conduct. The university is committed to maintaining a safe campus environment for all."

According to a police report, in the early hours of July 5, Blue and Figueroa brought the girl, a UM student, to a dorm room at the school's Pearson Hall building. Blue and Figueroa "administered or had knowledge of someone administering" to the accuser an intoxicating substance before they had oral, vaginal and anal sex with the girl.

"The victim was physically helpless to resist," the report said.

Blue and Figueroa admitted to Coral Gables police they bought several alcoholic drinks for the girl, brought her back to Figueroa's room on campus, and performed sexual acts without her consent.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, they were arrested and transported to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami. Blue was held on $10,000 bond, according to Miami-Dade County records. Figueroa was held on $10,000 plus a $5,000 bond for possessing a false or stolen driver license.

UM's football staff is on vacation for the month of July. Head coach Al Golden is not scheduled to speak to reporters until the ACC kickoff, July 20-21 in Greensboro, N.C., but UM spokesman Chris Yandle said he was "in town and aware of the situation."

UM President Donna Shalala said in a statement she has personally spoken to the victim and "reassured her of our full support." She also said the school expects to conclude its investigation "quickly and fairly."

Figueroa, from Stafford, Va., was expected to be the starting strong-side linebacker for UM this fall. He played in nine games as a true freshman in 2013, making two starts, and registered 17 tackles and one sack. He missed the final four games due to shoulder trouble.

The son of two Marines who grew up on a military base, he was a three-star recruit out of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.

Blue ended the spring as a co-backup at middle linebacker. He played in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2013, assisting on one tackle.

He was a three-star recruit out of West Boca and former Post All-Area selection. As a senior in 2011, he was suspended six weeks by the Florida High School Athletic Association for throwing a punch during a preseason game. The suspension was later reduced to two weeks.

His former coach at West Boca, Willie Dodaro, did not return a message from the Post. Current West Boca coach Alphonso Moran did not wish to comment.

mporter@pbpost.com Twitter: @mattyports

July 9, 2014 
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