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Monday, February 11
Jazz's Stevenson pleads no contest

Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. -- Utah Jazz guard DeShawn Stevenson was sentenced to two years of probation Monday for having sex with a minor.

Stevenson was not present for the hearing but his lawyer, Roger Litman, pleaded no contest on his behalf to charges that Stevenson, 20, had sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Litman pleaded guilty on his client's behalf to another charge of disturbing the peace for a fight that broke out at a basketball game the night he was drafted in the first round out of high school by the Jazz in 2000. He was the 23rd pick overall.

"Ultimately, I think this situation has made me grow as a person and man," Stevenson said in a statement. "It has given me a new respect and appreciation for the opportunities I have been blessed with in my life and career."

California law allows lawyers to enter guilty pleas to misdemeanors on behalf of their clients. Under the deal, negotiated for months by Litman and prosecutors, Stevenson will serve no jail time but must complete 100 hours of community service and pay $1,100 in fines.

Litman said the Jazz would arrange for Stevenson to do his community service at the Boys & Girls Club. Prosecutor Brian Andritch objected to that idea, saying Stevenson should not work around children because of the case's circumstances.

Superior Court Judge Dale Ikeda clarified that Stevenson could complete the service at a club for boys only.

Stevenson and former high school teammate DeShawn Anderson were accused of giving brandy to two teenage girls and taking them to a motel for sex.

The 14-year-old girl told police she willingly had sex with Stevenson. The 15-year-old girl, who originally told police she had sex with Anderson, later recanted and testified that she lied to get Anderson in trouble.

Anderson's case has not yet been resolved.

Litman said that Stevenson had admitted to having sex with the 14-year-old girl.

"He's never made any excuses," Litman said. "Since the day after the event he has been apologetic to the young lady, to her parents and to her grandparents. He went over there and told them he didn't mean any disrespect."

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