Never charged, three barred from program

Updated: February 25, 2004, 7:28 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- A grand jury has voted to clear three Rice football players and a high school recruit in a female university student's alleged sexual assault at a campus party.

Harris County grand jurors made their decision Tuesday.

The three Rice freshman, all age 19, were hosting a 17-year-old prospective recruit at a party on Dec. 6, said Terry Yates, an attorney who represented one of the students.

The sexual assault allegation was reported the following day to Rice University police, who investigated and gave their findings to the district attorney's office.

They were never arrested or charged with a crime, Assistant District Attorney Roberto Gutierrez told the Houston Chronicle for Wednesday's editions.

Although they will not face criminal charges, the three freshmen have been barred from playing football and removed from their dormitory, Yates said.

"We hope these players will be reinstated to their full status as Rice students and players," Yates said.

He said that the three students expect to have disciplinary hearings before school officials.

Campus officials declined to comment, citing a school policy prohibiting the unauthorized release of student information.

"The university took, and will continue to take, measures to protect the safety and the fair treatment of all concerned," Rice spokesman Terry Shepard said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press