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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
RALEIGH - Two N.C. State freshman football players have been dismissed from the team and three other players have been suspended as part of an investigation into reports of sexual assaults at a party last month.
No charges have been filed in the case that stems from three reports of sexual assaults at Wolf Village on July 21. The five football players could face charges related to underage drinking and drugs, but Chief Jack Moorman of the N.C. State University Police Department did not say they are targets of the sexual-assault investigation.
Antoine Thompson and Kevince Brown have been dismissed from the team, while Isaiah Moore, Erin Collins and Xavier Lyas have been suspended for violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, head football coach Dave Doeren said.
University police are working with the Wake County district attorney's office, which will decide whether the men will face any criminal charges, Moorman said.
"The criminal investigation is something we're not prepared to talk about at this time," he said.
Moorman said fewer than a dozen people attended a private party in one of the football players' rooms at Wolf Village. The five players were there, along with the three woman who filed reports of sexual assault.
While police are leading a criminal investigation, the university is conducting a Title IX investigation. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct could lead to more disciplinary actions by the university, including expulsion, according to N.C. State officials.
Title IX refers to the federal law that prohibits discrimination at educational institutions based on sex, religion or race.
On Tuesday, N.C. State's athletics department released the names of the five football players.
"We have a locker room full of young men," Doeren said in a written statement, "committed to representing our University with integrity and respect, and have created a strong culture for NC State Football through our leadership program.
"We had five freshmen, two of whom have been dismissed, who made poor decisions that don't align with the values of our program and each has been handled accordingly," Doeren said. "Although I've disciplined these players for violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, I want to make it clear that I respect due process in the University and legal proceedings. Our players understand that I'm going be firm, but fair when it comes to discipline."
Police have spent about 800 hours investigating the claims, including through interviews, search warrants to seize potential evidence from cellphones, the residence where the alleged assaults took place and video from campus security cameras.
Moorman assigned a team of four detectives to the case. They are working with a special victims unit from the district attorney's office.
According to authorities, the assaults are alleged to have happened between 9:30 and 11 p.m. July 21 at Timber Hall, a student apartment building at Wolf Village.
Moorman has said there were three separate sexual assaults reported, and the alleged victims knew the men who they said assaulted them.
"It was not a stranger assault," Moorman said.
Earlier this month, police made public incident reports that indicated two of the students told police they had been raped; the third student told police she was the victim of sexual battery.
One of the cases is being investigated as second-degree forcible rape after the alleged victim told police a suspect had sexual intercourse with her after she was given alcoholic beverages and an unnamed drug, according to one incident report.
A second case is being investigated as second-degree rape. Alcohol was determined to not be a factor in that case nor in the sexual battery case, according to the incident reports.
A person convicted of second-degree forcible rape can spend between four and 14 years in prison, according to North Carolina's general statutes. Someone found guilty of sexual battery can spend up to 150 days in jail, according to the general statutes.
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