Never charged, three barred from program

2/25/2004 - Rice Owls

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

"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.