Pierce pleads innocent to sexual assault

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa basketball player Pierre Pierce
pleaded innocent to one count of third-degree sexual assault,
according to documents filed Wednesday in Johnson County District

Pierce, 19, is accused of performing unwanted sex acts on a
female acquaintance at a party at his Iowa City apartment Sept. 7.
The criminal complaint filed states Pierce held the woman's hands
over her head and covered her mouth when she tried to scream.

The sophomore guard was suspended indefinitely from the team
last month by athletic department officials. A hearing on his
appeal was postponed earlier this week and has not been

Pierce, free on bond, was scheduled to make a court appearance
Thursday to enter a plea and schedule a trial date. His attorney,
Alfredo Parrish, filed a written plea Wednesday, negating the need
for Pierce to appear in person, court officials said.

A judge has yet to schedule a trial date in the case. Assistant
Johnson County Attorney Anne Lahey said trial scheduling depends on
whether Pierce waives his right to a speedy trial, an option under
state law.

Parrish did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday.

Lahey said if Parrish opts for a speedy trial, state law
requires the judge to set a date within 90 days.