Special prosecutor ordered in rape case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A special prosecutor will review a rape claim against three Arkansas basketball players after local authorities declined to file charges.

Washington County Circuit Judge William A. Storey filed an order Monday asking the state's prosecutor coordinator to recommend someone to take over the case. A lawyer representing the accuser requested a special prosecutor last week, and local prosecutor John Threet filed his own motion Monday asking for one.

"While I stand by the decision that there is insufficient evidence to file charges against any of the young men, I have requested and received an order appointing a special prosecutor," Threet said in a statement. "The complaining witness' private attorney has questioned the ethics and integrity of this office. This office does not take such accusations lightly."

John D. Bass, who represents the accuser, noted in last week's brief that Threet is the son-in-law of former Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles, and the brother-in-law of an athletic department spokesman.

A university freshman named three basketball players in the complaint, saying she was raped at a fraternity house in late August. Threet announced in September he wouldn't bring charges.

Bass said Monday's order would save time and expense.

"The victim and her family are hopeful that a thorough and unbiased investigation will be conducted and we will be concentrating our efforts on that," Bass said in a statement.

Threet said he wanted to speed up the process of appointing a special prosecutor because "this needs to be an end to this."

"I have stated from the beginning that I am not opposed to the court appointing a special prosecutor," Threet said. "If I can do anything that speeds this process along for the sake of all of the young people involved, I will do it."