Jury ready for rape trial of former BYU players

Updated: August 24, 2005, 10:00 PM ET
Associated Press

PROVO, Utah -- A jury was selected Wednesday in the trial of two former Brigham Young University football players accused of raping a 17-year-old girl a year ago.

Ibrahim Rashada and B.J. Mathis are charged with aggravated sexual assault, dealing harmful material to a minor, furnishing alcohol to a minor and obstructing justice. Opening statements were scheduled for Thursday morning.

Rashada and Mathis, both 19, have pleaded not guilty.

Eight jurors and one alternate were selected in 4th District Court from a pool of 60.

The girl told police she was raped at a Provo apartment last August. She said she was given alcohol and shown a pornographic DVD and later was raped by several men.

Six BYU football players originally were charged in the case and were either suspended or expelled for failure to comply with the school's strict honor code. None is still with the team.

Karland Bennett has pleaded guilty to dealing harmful material to a minor and obstructing justice, and his sentencing is scheduled for October. Two counts of aggravated sexual assault were dropped. Another former player's case was moved to juvenile court because he was 17 at the time of the alleged assault.

Two others were charged with lesser offenses and will have their misdemeanor charges dropped from their records if they abide by conditions set by the court. Antwaun Harris, 19, entered a plea to a misdemeanor charge of making false statements to a police officer, and Billy Skinner, 19, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of attempted dealing harmful material to a minor.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press