Arrest warrants issued in sexual assault case

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Two former Iowa football players are accused of sexually assaulting a woman on campus last year, and university police have issued warrants for their arrests.

Cedric Everson III and Abeberell "Abe" Satterfield, both former defensive backs, are accused of second-degree sexual abuse, the school said in a statement Tuesday. Satterfield also is accused of third-degree sexual abuse.

The school said the alleged assault happened Oct. 14, 2007, at a dormitory. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement that the players left the program soon after.

"This situation has always been serious and significant. I am concerned for everyone involved," he said. "Because this is still a legal matter and the information is sensitive, I cannot discuss the specifics of those conversations at this time."

Everson appeared in five games last season for Iowa, assisting on one tackle. Satterfield did not appear in a game.

Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness said she has been in contact with attorneys for Everson and Satterfield and expects them to turn themselves in soon.

Second-degree sexual abuse carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Third-degree sexual abuse carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

A criminal investigation was launched in November and the case raised questions over the university's handling of the investigation and a judge's order, at the request of prosecutors, to seal documents related to the inquiry.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen newspaper filed a lawsuit in January seeking access to records in the university's investigation. Earlier this month, the newspaper filed a motion asking a judge to force the university to release an index of documents being withheld in the investigation.

"This has been a difficult situation for everyone involved. From the day we learned about the incident, I have been deeply concerned and we have taken it seriously," athletic director Gary Barta said in a statement. "Our first concern was for the young woman."

He said his staff has followed university procedures and protocol and that last fall the case was "turned over to the proper authorities in full cooperation of the legal process."

"I look forward to being able to explain the handling of this matter more completely in the near future," he said.