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R.J. Luke to Transfer to W. Ill.

May 14, 2002

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ Tight end R.J. Luke is transferring from Penn State two weeks after a jury acquitted him of assaulting another student at an off-campus party.

Luke released a statement Tuesday through the university’s sports information department saying he would transfer to Western Illinois, an NCAA Division I-AA school where he would be able to play immediately as a senior.

``I did not assault Jude Sandt and I am relieved and grateful that a jury, having heard all the evidence, found that I was not guilty of the crimes charged,″ Luke said. ``But, even though the jury has spoken, those charges will be mentioned each time my name is mentioned for so long as I remain at Penn State.″

Sports information director Jeff Nelson said coach Joe Paterno would not comment on Luke’s transfer.

Luke had 12 catches for 207 yards and one touchdown last year. He played fullback his freshman and sophomore years, then switched to tight end after missing the 2000 season with a knee injury.

Luke, 22, and teammate Thurgood ``T.C.″ Cosby, 19, were charged with felony aggravated assault, misdemeanor simple assault, reckless endangering and summary harassment after a fight broke out July 29 at a fraternity party. Sandt, a member of the fraternity, said he was attacked by Luke and Cosby and suffered severe cuts when he was thrown through a window.

On April 30, a jury deliberated nearly four hours before acquitting the players.

Luke’s announcement came one year to the day after his sister, Ashley Luke, announced she would leave Penn State, where she had been the starting point guard on the women’s basketball team.

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