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SWT suspends three from football team, residence halls

Date of release: 04/02/98

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Southwest Texas State University has suspended three student athletes from its football team and residence halls pending the outcome of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault at a university residence hall.

The three students, Tobias Deans, Jeremy Dennis and Elverna Willilams, were arrested by university police on April 1 and charged with sexual assault as the result of an incident alleged to have occurred on Sunday, March 22.

The three were charged with sexually assaulting two female SWT students in a room of a campus residence hall.

SWT head football coach Bob DeBesse immediately suspended the players from the football team upon being notified of their arrest. In addition, John Garrison, the SWT dean of students, suspended the trio’s residence hall living privileges until the charges are resolved. The three will not be allowed to enter any campus residence hall without specific permission from the dean of students and a police escort.

DeBesse said he was “bitterly disappointed” that members of his team would be implicated in such an incident.

“We hold ourselves to a high standard of behavior and take pride in representing SWT in a first-class manner. Having class means having a genuine respect for all human beings. Any violation of that respect is totally unacceptable,” said DeBesse.

Jim Studer, SWT vice president of student affairs, said the University Police Department conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and presented its evidence to the Hays County District Attorney’s Office. Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday, April 1.

“It is university policy to cooperate fully with criminal investigations and we will continue to do so in this case. At the same time, we wish to express our sympathy to the victims. We will assist them any way we can,” said Studer.

Studer said numerous educational programs are conducted in university residence halls on topics such as crime prevention, sex and sexuality, and alcohol and drug abuse. Additionally, he said the SWT football team had received educational seminars on date rape, sexual harassment, crime prevention, drug and alcohol abuse and obeying the law.

“The health, safety and security of our students is our top priority. We deeply regret that this incident occurred,” said Studer.

The SWT office of Student Justice will conduct a hearing on the incident in the near future. A date for the hearing has not been set.

“As we await the results of the judicial process, our thoughts are with all those involved,” said DeBesse. “We will move forward toward continuing to build a football program based on the values for which this university stands.”