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College kicks athlete out, grand jury chooses not to indict

Even for athletes that are destined to be professional sportspeople, a solid college education is important. With the limited career span of professional athletes, they often need to have an education to fall back on. That is why what happened to a Xavier University sophomore is even more unbelievable.

Sports fans in Maryland may be familiar with Dez Wells and his prowess on the basketball court. Many may have also heard that he has been expelled from school after another student accused him of sexual assault. Though this may initially seem like a normal response to such a serious accusation, a grand jury found that there wasn't sufficient evidence that a sexual assault had occurred to even indict Wells, much less find him guilty.

Several people have called on Xavier to review Wells's case, saying that it is unfair to Wells that the university's conduct board had made a decision before the grand jury had even returned or failed to return an indictment. Unlike a grand jury, the school's conduct board was composed of students, faculty and university administrators, not legal professionals who are used to evaluating evidence and ensuring that testimony is presented fairly and without bias. It appears that Wells was in the same room as his accuser and both were made to tell their stories before the conduct board before it made its decision.

While this may seem like an incredulous decision on the part of Xavier, it appears that this is a relatively standard procedure in universities across the country. Being accused of a serious offense like sexual assault is bound to have negative consequences, even if no charges are ever filed. But losing the ability to go to a school or play basketball because of something that even officials are unwilling to file criminal charges seems a little extreme.

It remains to be seen where Wells will end up next and whether he will resume his basketball career.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, "Deters: No charges against former Xavier player Dez Wells," Shannon Russell, Aug. 30, 2012

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013