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Players reinstated to football team at SWT

Date of release: 06/24/98

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Southwest Texas State University officials announced today that three student athletes suspended from the football team in the spring due to allegations of sexual assault have been reinstated to the team.

This action came as a result of a “no bill” decision handed down by a Hays County grand jury in the criminal case on the allegations and the dropping of the case by the university’s student justice. The case was dropped because of conflicting statements and evidence and because one of the complainants chose not to contact the Student Justice Office.

The allegations of sexual assault came about in late March after the five students involved were drinking together in their rooms in a campus residence hall. SWT Vice President for Student Affairs James Studer said, “It is unfortunate that this situation occurred and has had such a negative impact on the involved students. We believe the consumption of alcohol led to a series of actions that all persons involved in the incident, including universities officials, regret.”

He continued, “The allegation of sexual assault was very traumatic for the five involved students, but the allegations that the pursuit of the case by the university police had a racial bias was particularly unfortunate.”

Michael Abbott, SWT executive vice president, said, “The University Police Department investigated the complaint of sexual assault as they would any similar case, and there is no evidence of a racial bias in the investigation. It was the decision of the district attorney, who participated in the investigation, to present the case to the grand jury.”

Studer said that he and his staff are concerned that the involved students will be able to put this incident behind them and continue to pursue their college degrees. The student affairs staff, including the coaching staff, have been and continue to be, in contact with the students to help them deal with the consequences of the incident.

Bob DeBesse, head football coach, said, “From day one, we have been cognizant of the need to steer clear of innuendo and reckless judgments. We put our trust in both the county and the university judicial systems and believed that their investigations would be thorough and their rulings would be fair. We are pleased that our three student athletes can rejoin the Bobcat football program. As we welcome them back, we will move forward continuing to emphasize the values and attitudes necessary to be successful in life.”

All of the involved students completed the spring semester.