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Wednesday, May 16, 2001
Patterson's one-year sentenced reduced

SEATTLE -- Seattle SuperSonics forward Ruben Patterson was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail with all but 15 days suspended under a modified plea to an attempted rape charge.

Ruben Patterson
Ruben Patterson wipes away tears as his attorney, John Wolfe, stands by during court proceedings Tuesday.
Patterson, 25, wept as he entered the plea, under which he did not admit guilt but agreed a jury might convict him.

Patterson was accused of attempting to rape the family's nanny in September at the family home in suburban Bellevue.

The maximum punishment for attempted third-degree rape, a gross misdemeanor, is one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Patterson also was placed on two years' probation by King County Superior Court Judge Brian Gain, who ordered him to register as a sex offender if he remains in Washington. He will have to pay the $5,000 fine, as well as court costs and $500 plus restitution to the nanny.

Patterson told the court he did not commit a crime but acknowledged he cheated on his wife.

"I would like to apologize to anyone I have hurt by my stupid decision, including my wife, my family, my team and my fans," he said.

Patterson is to begin serving his sentence by July 17. He could get five days off for good behavior.

His wife, Shannon, attended the hearing.

"I'm here today because I do not believe Ruben raped or attempted to rape our former nanny," she told the court. "I love my husband and I believe he's done the right thing for our family to put this matter behind us."

The 6-foot-5, 224-pound Patterson had his best season with the Sonics this season, averaging 13.1 points, five rebounds and 27.1 minutes in 76 games. He will be a restricted free agent this summer.

He was suspended for three games in February because of an assault conviction for breaking a man's jaw in Cleveland.

Team owner Howard Schultz has said he's disturbed by the attempted rape charge, and Sonics CEO Wally Walker has said Patterson will be disciplined if he returns to the team next season.

Patterson also will receive a multigame suspension and fine of at least $100,000 from the NBA, said his agent, Dan Fagan. An NBA spokesman would say only that the league is gathering information about the plea.

John Wolfe, Patterson's attorney, asked for a 12-month deferred sentence and 240 hours of community service. The judge refused, saying community service wouldn't be appropriate because the NBA already encourages players to engage in such works.

Gain said he had taken into account a letter from the victim and her parents, in which she asked that Patterson be sentenced to jail. He told Patterson, "You've got work to do, particularly with your family."

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 An emotional Ruben Patterson enters his plea to an attempted rape charge.
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