No charges will be filed against UW’s Stevens

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, October 24, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By JOHN SLEEPER

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – The feeling among the University of Washington football team was overwhelming relief following Tuesday’s announcement that King County prosecutors will not charge tight end Jerramy Stevens with sexual assault.

“It’s been a very difficult situation for all parties involved,” UW coach Rick Neuheisel said. “I’m happy that there has been a resolution. The feeling I have is one of relief.”

King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng said the three-month investigation failed to bring enough evidence to file criminal charges against Stevens. Calling the investigation “very thorough,” Maleng said it’s results failed to meet the statutory elements of rape, even though investigators interviewed dozens of witnesses.

Maleng said there must be proof beyond reasonable doubt that 1) the victim was physically helpless, or; 2) the victim was mentally incapable of consent. The investigation, Maleng said, failed to satisfy either element.

Maleng said the complaining witness, a 19-year-old member of the Pi Beta Pi sorority, was too drunk to recall what happened during the incident, alleged to have happened after a party at the UW’s Sigma Chi fraternity June 3.

“What we’re dealing with here is alcohol in a college setting,” Maleng said. “It has been an issue for such a long period of time. Poor choices can lead to great tragedies. Excessive drinking can lead to poor choices.”

Stevens, 20, is a redshirt sophomore from River Ridge High School in Olympia. In seven games, he has 28 receptions for 403 yards and two touchdowns. At 6 feet 7, 260 pounds, Stevens is considered a prime NFL prospect.

Stevens declined to speak to reporters following Tuesday’s practice, but issued the following statement through the UW athletic department’s media relations office:

“I want to express my appreciation to my attorney for representing me. From the beginning, I was assured that this case would be handled appropriately through the legal system. I want to thank my friends and teammates for the support I have received the past three months. I am relieved that this matter has been resolved and I can continue to focus on being a student at Washington and a member of the football team.”

A six-member SWAT team arrested Stevens at his home on Seattle’s Roosevelt Way, about five miles from the university, shortly before 7 a.m. on July 27. He was jailed overnight and was scheduled for a bail hearing the next day, but instead was freed the next evening pending investigation.

According to a police and court documents, the woman told police she talked with Stevens and drank from a bottle that possibly was tampered with. She said she awoke the next afternoon in her own room, wearing just her T-shirt and a bra, which was around her waist.

Maleng said there was no evidence that the bottle was tampered with.

The woman told police that her pants were on the floor, along with a fleece jacket, which was stained with blood and covered with dirt. The police report said the woman’s mother found her daughter’s underwear in a nearby parking lot.

“She was unable to remember substantial portions of what occurred the night before, including a several-hour period before she returned to her residence,” Maleng said.

A 911 call that night reported a possible rape in progress in an alley, but police were unable to find the people involved.

This was not the first time Stevens and the law have become uneasy partners. He was charged with two counts of assault in June 1988 in connection with a fight in an Olympia-area park. He and a friend were accused of hitting a man with a baseball bat and kicking in the face, breaking his jaw.

Stevens spent three weeks in jail that summer after a drug test administered under the terms of his house arrest revealed THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Maleng said the case is closed, but may be opened if other evidence presents itself.

“As with any case, if somebody brought forth some additional evidence, we’re certainly going to look at it,” Maleng said. “We always do in every case.”

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