Harris pleads to making false statements

Updated: February 11, 2005, 3:23 PM ET
Associated Press

PROVO, Utah -- Former Brigham Young wide receiver Antwaun Harris, one of two players who faced lesser charges in an investigation that led to rape charges against four teammates, has pleaded no contest to reduced charges.

Harris, 19, entered the plea Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of making false statements to a police officer. He originally was charged with second-degree felony making false material statements.

He was accused of falsely denying there was pornography in the players' apartment on Aug. 8, the night a 17-year-old girl says she was raped by several players at the apartment.

The plea will be held in abeyance for six months, and the charge will be dismissed if Harris complies with terms of the plea arrangement.

The terms include that he be willing to testify in the rape case.

He also must not possess pornography during the six months.

"He's glad to have this resolved," said defense attorney Brook Sessions. "He's just glad to have this case taken care of."

Harris and defensive back Billy Skinner were both charged with lesser offenses in the investigation.

Skinner, 19, was charged with third-degree felony dealing in harmful materials to a minor but is to plead no contest on Feb. 18 to a misdemeanor charge, attorneys said earlier. He also is to be willing to testify at the June 27 trial of his ex-teammates.

Karland Bennett, 19, Ibrahim Rashada, 18, B.J. Mathis, 18, and William Turner Jr., who is 18 now but was 17 at the time, were indicted on charges of aggravated sexual assault, dealing harmful material to a minor, furnishing alcohol to a minor and obstructing justice. Turner provided information to prosecutors in exchange for an agreement that he would be tried as a minor.

Harris and Skinner were suspended from the team in December after the charges were announced, and both plan to transfer to other schools. Skinner plans to play at Sam Houston State, a I-AA school.

The four accused of rape were suspended by BYU for one year.

Harris, a Garland, Texas, native, had 17 receptions for 149 yards last season.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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