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ASU Basketball Recruits Won’t be Charged in Alleged Assaults

March 20, 1996

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ Three Arizona State University basketball recruits won’t face criminal charges in the alleged sexual and physical assault of a female student and another woman, authorities said Tuesday.

Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said a review by his office showed there was little chance that any of the men, all freshmen, would be convicted.

Romley cited inconsistencies in witness statements and evidence that some of the people involved had had a previous sexual relationship.

Athletic department officials at Arizona State could not be reached Tuesday afternoon for comment. Messages left by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

The alleged attacks occurred on Feb. 28 and resulted in the suspension of Tommie Prince, 18; Rico Harris, also 18, and George Gervin, 19, all of whom had been arrested on suspicion of assault and unlawful imprisonment.

Gervin is the son of NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin.

One of the women told police she was raped and authorities said the other was ``physically mishandled″ in Prince’s dormitory room.

The women, also 18, told authorities the athletes threatened them with a gun. Police confiscated a BB gun from Prince’s room, where the attacks allegedly occurred.

Police reports said one of the women agreed to have sex with one of the athletes, but objected when a second man tried to take part.

The three athletes were suspended under the athletic department’s code of conduct, which was set up in 1992 after the school had previous legal problems with athletes.

Prince, Harris and Gervin were recruited for basketball but were not academically qualified to play this year.

ASU basketball coach Bill Frieder could not immediately be reached for comment by the AP. He was out of the office Tuesday afternoon, but his secretary said he might issue a statement later.

If the athletes had been charged in the case, they could have faced expulsion, school officials said.

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