Longhorns running back charged with misdemeanor

Updated: October 21, 2003, 8:23 PM ET

AUSTIN -- Texas running back Cedric Benson was charged Tuesday with forcing his way into an apartment in a search for a stolen television.

Benson was charged with criminal trespassing, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted. Bond was set at $10,000. Benson turned himself in to the Travis County Jail and was released, said Brian Carney, his attorney.

"He's a big boy," Carney said. "We'll let the justice system take its course."

Carney said he had not yet read the arrest warrant affidavit laying out the allegations.

Benson, the leading rusher for the No. 19 Longhorns (5-2) with 498 yards and 10 touchdowns, did not practice Tuesday and coach MackBrown said he would not start Saturday against Baylor.Brown said he did not yet know if Benson would be in the game.

"We didn't want it to be a distraction,"Brown said. "We're trying to get back to football.

"We take all legal matters seriously," he said. "But it's really important that we all understand that we're lucky we live in a free country and you're innocent until proven guilty."

Benson, 20, is accused of joining three other men in forcing their way into an apartment on Oct. 7 in a search for a television Benson had reported stolen from him in 2002.

According to the arrest warrant, a woman who lived at the apartment told police four men knocked on the door. When she didn't answer, the men tried the doorknob before kicking in the door.

The woman told police that a male with braided hair told her that her roommate had taken his plasma television and he wanted to know where it was. Benson wears his hair in dreadlocks. The woman said the men looked through the apartment for the TV and left when they didn't find it.

The woman said her roommate said she suspected one of the men was Benson. The woman later picked Benson's face out of a photo lineup.

Austin police spokeswoman Laura Albrecht said late Tuesday no other suspects had been charged.

The officer who filed the affidavit, Detective Roger Bailey, said he also suspected Benson was involved because he had investigated the break-in where Benson's TV was stolen. The affidavit said the roommate's boyfriend, who was not named in the affidavit, was a primary suspect in that case.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index