Nebraska players face 2.5-year suspension for sexual misconduct

Two Nebraska football players who had been suspended from the team in August were found to have violated the school's sexual misconduct policies and face a 2½-year suspension from the university, according to an investigation report obtained by Outside the Lines.

According to a source familiar with the investigation, the two unnamed respondents in the report are wide receiver Andre Hunt and tight end Katerian LeGrone, redshirt freshmen who were suspended indefinitely from all team activities on Aug. 26, the day after the reported incident. At the time, Nebraska offensive coordinator Troy Walters declined to say why. The two did not play for Nebraska all season.

The report issued Wednesday states that the "greater weight of the evidence" supported that the two men "engaged in sexual assault and sexual harassment, in violation of university sexual misconduct policies" on Aug. 25 at their off-campus apartment. As of Dec. 4, they had seven university business days in which to file an appeal. If they don't request administrative resolution or appeal within those seven days, the suspension will be final, according to the report.

Regarding an appeal, LeGrone's attorney, Kaz Long, told Outside the Lines he and his client are still weighing their options. In the meantime, Long said LeGrone "maintains his innocence and we look forward to clearing his name. He did nothing wrong."

When reached Thursday by Outside the Lines, Hunt's attorney, Carlos A. Monzon, said: "This is a clear case of institutional racism. A young man that has done nothing wrong versus a university that has denied him even the statement of those who accuse him. Parents should be afraid and mindful of the institutions we entrust our children to."

Monzon told the Omaha World-Herald Friday that he plans to file an appeal with the university.

Athletic department spokesman Keith Mann said the two players remain indefinitely suspended from the football team and he declined to make any further comment. University spokeswoman Deb Fiddelke confirmed the two students were still enrolled at the university, but said she could not answer questions regarding any sexual misconduct investigation.

A woman reported an incident to the Lincoln Police Department the night it happened, according to Nebraska's findings and a police report obtained by Outside the Lines. The police report notes only that a rape was reported at an off-campus apartment on the evening of Aug. 25. Lincoln Police Capt. Ryan Dale said Thursday that there was an open investigation and he could not provide any further details. Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon said no criminal charges have been filed.

Findings of sexual misconduct at Nebraska, and at many universities, are based on a preponderance of evidence, which means the weight of the evidence favors one side over the other. It is a lower burden of proof than the beyond a reasonable doubt needed to convict someone in a criminal case.

The university's investigation report states that the first respondent, Hunt, said he invited the woman over to his apartment via Snapchat and told her he wanted to have sex. The woman said she told Hunt she didn't want to have sex with him, and that he agreed they could just hang out, according to the report.

Hunt said it was clear he invited her over to have sex, according to the report. The woman provided text messages with her mom in which she expressed concerns about going to Hunt's apartment and what his intentions were, and also told her mom that she was "not doing that," according to the report.

When she arrived, the woman said, Hunt took her to his room, where they both sat on the bed. She and Hunt both told investigators he began to rub her buttocks and thigh, according to the report. The report states that the woman said she did not respond verbally or physically to his advances, and later sent a text message to someone saying she'd "felt uncomfortable and too scared to say no."

The report states that Hunt told the investigator that the woman asked him, "Why are you touching me?" and that he continued to touch her "despite feeling confused because he thought [she] was just 'playing.'"

According to the report, Hunt, LeGrone and the woman each said Hunt and LeGrone had sex with her; however, they disagreed as to whether the sex was consensual. For example, the woman said that, at one point, Hunt put a blanket over her head to obstruct her view of LeGrone, according to the report. LeGrone said he asked if he could join in sexual activity with the woman, and that she said, "OK," but Hunt contradicted his teammate and told the investigator LeGrone did not ask to have sex with her, according to the report.

The investigation's findings included that the evidence supported that Hunt touched and digitally penetrated the woman and made her have oral sex without her consent, and that both men had sex with her without her consent, according to the report. The report states that the woman provided text messages with others, sent "immediately" following the actions, in which she alleged she had been raped.

LeGrone said he lied to police when initially questioned about the incident and said he was never in the room, "because he was scared," the report states. He said he told police in a second interview that he did have sex with the woman but it was consensual, according to the report.

The university set a 2½-year suspension in order to allow the woman to complete her education "free from a hostile environment" with the two men, according to the report. The respondents are eligible to return to the school following the suspension, and conditions for readmission may be specified, according to the report.