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Dominic Jones charged; three other players still suspects in incident

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota cornerback Dominic Jones was
charged Monday with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after
investigators said they found cell phone video that showed him in a
sex act with a woman who was physically helpless.

Three other Gophers remain suspects in the case, which began in
April after an 18-year-old woman said she had been raped at an
apartment complex near campus.

"The charges represent a significant next step in this case,"
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. "The charge is a
serious one."

Defensive end Alex Daniels, cornerback Keith Massey and running
back E.J. Jones all were arrested and questioned in April. They
have not been charged, but have been suspended ever since by coach
Tim Brewster.

"No charges will be filed against those individuals today,"
Freeman said. "We're going to take this case one step at a time.
Each of them remains suspects and we're going to continue to review
each of the cases."

At a news conference, Freeman said the woman had come to the
apartment complex with a friend and some Gopher players. He said
she drank heavily with the players and had sex with E.J. Jones,
Massey and Daniels before passing out.

Dominic Jones arrived later and had sex with the woman while
Daniels recorded the video on his cell phone, Freeman said. The
file had been deleted from the phone, but investigators recovered a
part of it, he said.

"It's amazing what the forensics can do to reconstruct that,"
Freeman said. "That cell phone video, a picture is worth 1,000
words, and that video reflects what happened, at least at that
point in time."

The woman's blood-alcohol level was estimated at least 0.30
percent by a doctor who reviewed police reports and witness
statements, according to the criminal complaint. Stephen Smith, the
doctor, based his estimate on her size and weight and descriptions
of the amount of alcohol consumed.

That's a level, Freeman said, "in which motor function,
including the ability to stand or walk, is lost." He said
third-degree criminal sexual conduct occurs when a "victim is
helpless. This is the textbook definition of helplessness when
you're over .30."

Freeman said investigators also recovered DNA evidence
connecting Dominic Jones to the woman.

Dominic Jones is one of the Gophers' best defensive players.
He's started 20 straight games over the last two seasons and gained
the reputation of a fiery competitor with a knack for making big
hits despite being just 5 feet 8.

Last season Dominic Jones had two interceptions and 82 tackles,
a high number for a cornerback. He also emerged as a standout kick
returner, leading the Big Ten with a 23.0-yard average and
returning one 99 yards for a touchdown against Cal.

He went to the same high school in Columbus, Ohio as Daniels and
Massey, who is Dominic Jones' half-brother.

In a prepared statement, Brewster said Jones has been suspended.
Athletic director Joel Maturi said the school is cooperating with
the investigation.

"The conduct alleged in this case does not reflect the
expectations and aspirations that the university has for its
student-athletes or any of its students," Maturi said in the joint
statement. "Accordingly, appropriate disciplinary action will be
considered as we gain more information."

Dominic Jones' attorney, Earl Gray, declined comment.

Daniels' attorney, Mike Colich, declined to comment on the
allegation that Daniels took the video, but said Daniels
"absolutely" denies any wrongdoing. Colich also expressed
frustration at the pace of the investigation.

"At this point I think I'm frustrated that the county attorney
is indicating they haven't made a decision on whether they're going
to charge him," Colich said. "[Daniels] is waiting to get his
life back and get back to football. ... How many weeks and months
has it been that they've had to investigate?"

E.J. Jones' attorney said Monday's news was more of a relief,
despite Freeman's claims that his client is still a suspect.

"E.J. clearly went to bed early on in this situation so we're
confident he's not going to get charged," attorney Jeff DeGree
said. "We're confident he'll be back on the football field in the
fall. ... [Freeman] has had three or four months to investigate
this and we've always felt that E.J. wasn't going to get charged.
That didn't happen today and I don't think it's going to happen in
the future."