Running back won't start vs. Baylor

Updated: October 22, 2003, 9:56 AM ET
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas running back Cedric Benson was charged Tuesday with forcing his way into an apartment to look for a television he says was stolen from him.

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

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

Benson, the leading rusher for the 5-2 Longhorns (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) with 498 yards and 10 touchdowns, did not practice Tuesday and coach Mack Brown 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."

The player is accused of joining three other males in forcing their way into the apartment Oct. 7. Benson had reported the television was 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 suspected one of the men was Benson and later picked his face out of a photo lineup.

The officer who filed the affidavit, Det. 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.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press