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Patriots’ David Meggett Arrested

February 28, 1998

TORONTO (AP) _ The New England Patriots have had a lot of off-the-field problems over the years.

The list got longer Friday, when Patriots running back Dave Meggett and a former member of the team’s practice squad were charged with sexual assault.

Meggett and Steve Brannon were arrested Friday after a 33-year-old woman complained she was assaulted at the Royal York Hotel around 1 a.m. Meggett, the NFL’s leading career punt returner, also was charged with robbery.

The men were detained until a hearing Friday afternoon, then released on bail _ $5,250 for Meggett and $2,500 for Brannon. They were ordered to appear in court March 13.

Meggett’s lawyer, Alan D. Gold, said his client would plead innocent.

``They were astonished when these charges were brought forward,″ Gold said. ``They were just visiting socially. This is a woman that was known to them previously. It’s not like a stranger or somebody they picked up in a bar or anything like that.″

The Patriots issued a statement saying they are ``deeply concerned″ about the charges. The statement said the team would not comment further until the investigation and legal proceedings conclude.

Police Sgt. Marilyn McCann said the players wouldn’t say why they were in Toronto.

The woman, who is from Toronto, was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released. She told police she met with a man she had known for some time late Thursday night at a suite in the Royal York, a downtown hotel overlooking Toronto’s lakefront. Police said a second man then entered the suite, and the assault and robbery took place.

Meggett, 31, has spent nine years in the NFL with the New York Giants and Patriots. He was chosen for the Pro Bowl twice as a kick returner. Meggett missed the end of last season because of injuries.

Brannon signed with the Patriots on Dec. 16 and was released the day of the team’s last game. He played six games with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 1995.

The Patriots have had a long history of off-the-field problems.

In 1986, wide receiver Irving Fryar missed the AFC championship game after he was cut with a knife in an incident involving his wife.

In 1990, Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson claimed tight end Zeke Mowatt exposed himself and made lewd comments to her in the Patriots’ locker room.

In 1996, the Patriots relinquished the rights to Christian Peter three days after the Nebraska lineman was drafted in the fifth round despite a history of legal problems ranging from public urination to third-degree sexual assault.

In 1997, quarterback Drew Bledsoe and guard Max Lane were accused of diving off the stage during a concert at a Boston nightclub. A 23-year-old woman who was in the mosh pit had surgery to remove two disks in her back; she filed a lawsuit claiming Bledsoe landed on her.

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