Six UTC football players are being charged with one count of rape each in an alleged on-campus gang rape, UTC Police Chief Mac McNeely said Tuesday afternoon.
He made the announcement at a press conference at UTC shortly after meeting with District Attorney Bill Cox.
He said rape warrants were being drawn up against Muhammad Ahmad Abus-Salaam, Lironnie Davis, DeJuan Payne, Cori Stukes, Terrence Thomas and Larry White.
Chief McNeely said an investigation showed that a seventh player, Anthony Broadnax, was not involved in sexual misconduct.
The players turned themselves in on the rape warrants later Tuesday.
Football Coach Rodney Allison said at a 5:30 p.m. press conference, "I take these charges very seriously. We are going to let the legal system take its course and the university process take its course."
Coach Allison said he had a 5-minute meeting with the football team to tell them about the charges. He said, "I asked them to keep these players in their thoughts and prayers."
The coach said, "We have got good players in this program. We have got character in this program. We have got integrity in this program."
He said the player who was not charged will not be back on the team this year, saying he said earlier that all seven of those suspended would miss the last three games.
Chancellor Roger Brown said no disciplinary action was planned against the football coach, though he had some information about the incident and allowed the players to take part in the Western Carolina game.
Chancellor Brown said it was "an administrative mistake" that he was not told about the incident until five days after it happened. He said that has been corrected.
He said the university is continuing a separate student conduct investigation. He said he was checking with UT attorneys on whether students charged with rape would be allowed to remain as students.
Chief McNeely said the intoxication level of the female was a definite factor in bringing the charges in the incident at Boling Apartments.
An 18-year-old female student said she was intoxicated after a party, and she went with one of the players. She said she was carried up into his dorm room and was repeatedly raped. She said she tried to fight the men off and was struck by at least one of them.
Jerry Summers, attorney for the players, said his investigation showed the sex was consensual.
The players have been suspended indefinitely. Coach Allison said they are not likely to return to the team.
UTC officials and students also had a sexual assault discussion at the University Center auditorium on Tuesday afternoon.
Officials of the Transformation Project and a Sexual Assault Crisis Center were among those advising students.
One speaker said one of every four coeds suffers a sexual assault. She said few are reported.
UTC Police Chief Mac McNeely at press conference as Chancellor Roger Brown looks on.
- Photo2 by John Wilson