Former Michigan St. star Mateen Cleaves faces sex assault charge

FLINT, Mich. -- Former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves has been arraigned on sexual assault charges.

Cleaves appeared at a Flint courthouse Wednesday, a day after he was charged with assaulting a woman at a motel last summer following a charity golf event.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy is criticizing Judge M. Cathy Dowd, saying Cleaves' arraignment was handled "clandestinely.'' No cameras were allowed. The prosecutor's office had asked for a Thursday hearing.

The 38-year-old Cleaves is charged with criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration and unlawful imprisonment. His attorney says the allegations are false and "outrageous.''

A news release Tuesday from Worthy's office said the 24-year-old woman, her boyfriend and several co-workers met Cleaves on Sept. 14 at a Flint-area charity golf outing.

The group later went to a local bar for drinks. The woman said that after leaving the bar, her boyfriend gave a friend a ride home. She believed she was returning to the golf club in Cleaves' car.

The woman said she was taken instead to a Mundy Township motel and sexually assaulted in one of the rooms. She escaped and was helped by a woman in a nearby room, according to Worthy.

"The evidence in this case will show that the alleged actions of this defendant were not only criminal, but arose out of a sense of entitlement sometimes found in prominent people," Worthy said.

The case is being tried in Genesee County Court, but the Wayne County prosecutor is handling it because of a possible conflict of interest by Genesee County prosecutors and a potential witness.

Cleaves attended Flint Northern High School before going to Michigan State, where he led the Spartans to the NCAA championship in 2000 as the team's point guard.

"I'm saddened by it," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told reporters Tuesday of the charges against Cleaves after his team practiced in preparation for playing in the NCAA tournament on Friday. "I'm saddened for him and his family."

Cleaves was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2000 and spent six seasons in the NBA, playing for the Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle Supersonics. Cleaves averaged 3.6 points and just under two assists in 167 NBA games.

Cleaves has worked in the past as an analyst for at least two sports networks.

Information from The Associated Press was used to this report.