USC QB Sanchez won't face sexual assault charges

LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors decided Friday not to file charges against Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez, who had been accused of sexually assaulting another USC student.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Richard Tacklander, who reviewed the case, concluded there was "a lack of sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt."

"From the outset of this investigation, I've been confident that the facts would come to light and that investigators would confirm that I was innocent of the allegations against me," Sanchez said in a statement issued by the university.

Sanchez, 19. had been arrested for investigation of assaulting a 19-year-old woman at an apartment complex near the USC campus April 26.

Prosecutors said in a charge evaluation worksheet that a review of medical exams on both parties were inconclusive on the issue of force, making the case "essentially a 'one-on-one' allegation."

"I am grateful to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office and the LAPD detectives for their diligence in pursuing the truth and taking the time necessary to make the right decision," Sanchez said. "I look forward to continuing my education at USC and being a positive contributor to our school, student body and team."

Sanchez, listed as the backup quarterback to John David Booty on USC's depth chart, has been free on $200,000 bail since his arrest. He is expected to battle for the starting quarterback job this fall. Booty practiced only once this spring before he injured his back and had to undergo surgery.

"I'm glad to hear that this is behind Mark and that he has been exonerated," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "Mark regretted that this situation reflected poorly on him, his family and his teammates. I know he'll work hard to put this behind him. He can now concentrate on his schoolwork and on preparing to compete for the quarterback job in the fall."

Sanchez's arrest was the latest of several brushes with the law for USC players, dating back to last year.

Cornerback Eric Wright was arrested in March 2005 at a campus apartment by officers investigating reports of an assault. The district attorney's office declined to press criminal charges against Wright because of insufficient evidence.

Wright left USC amid possible disciplinary action by the school and transferred to UNLV.

Linebacker Rey Maualuga was arrested Nov. 1 for allegedly punching a man at an off-campus party, but no criminal charges were filed. He sat out the first half of the game against Stanford the following weekend as punishment.