Woman apparently lied; four other players suspended

Updated: February 7, 2004, 9:10 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- St. John's expelled one basketball player and permanently suspended two others Thursday night, hours after a woman was arrested for falsely claiming she was raped by several players she met at a strip club.

After the woman, who confessed to making up the story, was charged on Thursday night, St. John's said it had expelled senior Grady Reynolds, who was arrested before last season on charges he pushed a female student against a wall.

University athletics spokesman Dominic Scianna said the school also permanently suspended leading scorer Elijah Ingram, a sophomore, and senior Abraham Keita, pending expulsion hearings.

Two other players, freshman Lamont Hamilton and senior Mohammed Diakite, were also suspended, and another player, freshman Tyler Jones, would be disciplined, the school said. The players were not immediately available for comment.

St. John's officials did not describe how the players violated team rules.

Hamilton and Diakite reportedly went to the strip club, but were not involved in the hotel escapade, the New York Daily News reported.

Sherri Ann Urbanek-Bach, 38, of New York, was arraigned on charges of prostitution, attempted extortion and filing fictitious reports.

She had been charged Thursday, just hours after she claimed she was raped in a hotel by players she met in a strip club following the Red Storm's 71-51 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, Pittsburgh police said.

Urbanek-Bach, who did not have an attorney at the brief hearing, was ordered held on $20,000 bond in the Allegheny County Jail.

According to police, several players went to a club after the game Wednesday night. The woman told police she met the players around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, then went with them to a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, where she told police she was raped.

Doubts about Urbanek-Bach's story were raised after one of the players gave investigators his cell phone, which he had used to videotape some of the encounter, police said.

Urbanek-Bach said that after having sex, the players refused to pay her $1,000 as agreed to earlier, so she called police and told them she was raped by five of them, according to an arrest affidavit.

While no criminal charges were filed against the players, St. John's disciplined the men "for violation of team rules and behavior inconsistent with St. John's mission and values."

The players were not made available for comment by the school.

St. John's is 5-14. Interim coach Kevin Clark replaced Mike Jarvis on Dec. 19.

St. John's next plays Boston College at home Sunday afternoon.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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