Venoy Overton faces alcohol charge

Updated: March 8, 2011, 7:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SEATTLE -- The Seattle city attorney charged Washington guard Venoy Overton with providing alcohol to a minor on Tuesday, just as the team is set to appear in the Pac-10 tournament.

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar responded by suspending Overton for the Pac-10 tournament, beginning with Thursday night's game against rival Washington State. Overton will travel with the team to Los Angeles and continue to practice, but could be suspended for as many as three games if the Huskies make a run to the tournament final.

"As far as I'm concerned, behavior needs to change. We need to learn from our mistakes," Romar said. "Mistakes are going to be made. Every situation is different. I don't think you handle every situation the same."

The charge is a gross misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail, though such a harsh punishment is extremely unlikely. Overton is scheduled to appear in municipal court April 1.

The case stemmed from an allegation by a 16-year-old girl that Overton sexually assaulted her at an apartment in Seattle Jan. 8. King County prosecutors declined to file charges in that case because other witnesses reported that the contact appeared consensual. They referred the case to city prosecutors because of evidence Overton bought alcohol for the girl and her 16-year-old friend.

City attorney spokeswoman Kimberly Mills said she did not immediately know if Overton had a lawyer.

Romar said there was internal punishment that Overton had faced, but declined to elaborate. Romar said Overton would be able to participate in any tournament the team might play beyond the conference tournament.

Romar wanted to hold off on any public punishment until a formal decision was made by prosecutors.

"It was my intention all along that if something were to happen that further action would be taken from the action that's already been taken internally," Romar said.

Overton was playing his best over the final weeks of the regular season even as the Huskies struggled to find consistency. Overton averaged 9.9 points over his final seven Pac-10 games and was coming off a season-high 15 points last Saturday in a 62-60 loss to USC.

"He knows he did wrong and he knows what was at stake," Washington guard Isaiah Thomas said. "People make mistakes and I feel like you deserve a second chance."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.