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Former Husker Player’s Attorney Says Peter Denies Assault

March 5, 1996

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ An attorney for former Nebraska linebacker Christian Peter said his client adamantly denies accusations that he assaulted a young woman in Kearney last weekend.

``We are going to drive to Kearney if necessary so the prosecutor can get Christian’s version of it,″ Lincoln attorney Hal Anderson said. ``I would be shocked if there would be those kind of problems coming from Christian. It would be uncharacteristic of Christian to be involved with this at this point in his life.″

Peter, who co-captained the two-time national champion Nebraska team, was arrested on suspicion of third-degree misdemeanor assault last weekend, hours after he attended a football booster banquet in Kearney.

Peter is accused of grabbing a 21-year-old woman around the neck at a bar and dance club on the west edge of Kearney. He was arrested, but not jailed, in a downtown bar after police received two calls about Peter and the group of men he was with.

Assistant Buffalo County Attorney Amy Jacobsen said Monday that her office was reviewing police reports. Formal charges had not been filed by Monday afternoon, Jacobsen said.

She said that prosecutors would decide by Friday whether any charge would be filed. She said police were called twice Saturday night about Peter’s alleged behavior. If charges are filed, she said, he probably would not be eligible for a pretrial diversion program.

``It wouldn’t be appropriate for a case like this,″ Jacobsen said. ``It would be a rare occasion where we would divert an adult like this.″

On Jan. 5, Peter completed an 18-month probation in Lancaster County Court. His probation, which included not going to bars, was successfully completed, court administrator Judith Leech said.

A defensive tackle from Locust, N.J., Peter was found guilty in the 1993 third-degree sexual assault against a former Miss Nebraska. He pleaded no contest at the time and was sentenced to probation.

Peter and about 15 other football players attended the Platte Valley Big Red Booster Club banquet in Kearney on Saturday night. Quarterbacks coach Turner Gill also attended the event.

Linda Schwartzkopf, director of student judicial affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said she will investigate the incident to see if Peter violated the student conduct code. When students enroll at the university, they agree to a list of conduct rules.

``It’s certainly something that we will make every effort to get police reports and determine if off-campus jurisdiction needs to be enforced,″ Schwartzkopf said. ``If there is a record of prior misconduct, that is taken into consideration.″

The 1995 Nebraska football season was marked with high-profile court cases. Lawrence Phillips, the team’s star tailback, was arrested and thrown off the team after he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend. Phillips returned to the team after a six-week suspension.

Riley Washington, a Nebraska wingback, faces attempted second-degree murder charges from an August shooting. His case is scheduled for an April trial.

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