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Ex-NMSU players charged over sexual assault

Ex-NMSU players charged over sexual assault

Three former New Mexico State basketball players have been criminally charged after accusations that they sexually assaulted their teammates last year, the state’s attorney general said Thursday.

Deshawndre Washington, Doctor Bradley and Kim Aiken Jr. were charged with criminal sexual penetration, multiple counts of false imprisonment and criminal sexual contact, and multiple counts of conspiracy charges, according to indictment documents released Thursday.

The indictment documents contain few details of the alleged abuse but note that the alleged incidents occurred between August and November 2022. All 37 charges are felonies in New Mexico.

Joleen Youngers, who represented all five plaintiffs, said her clients were grateful for the charges but focused on more institutional responsibility.

“It still only addresses the the behavior of the three perpetrators,” Youngers told ESPN. “Where were the coaches, where was their staff, where was the AD?… It’s unfortunate that this atmosphere was allowed to be created and to grow.”

New Mexico State canceled the remainder of its 2022-23 men’s basketball season in February after freshman guard Deuce Benjamin told campus police that older teammates had repeatedly forced him to the floor of their locker room and sexually assaulted him. The allegations also led New Mexico State to fire basketball coach Greg Heiar.

The university declined to comment on both the civil and criminal cases. Washington, Bradley and Aiken could not be reached for comment.

In April, Benjamin and teammate Shak Odunewu filed a lawsuit naming Washington, Bradley and Aiken as defendants. In the lawsuit, Benjamin and Odunewu allege their teammates would pull down their pants, slap their buttocks and touch their scrotums. Odunewu reported the abuse to Heiar, who told Odunewu he would look into it and issue suspensions but didn’t, according to the lawsuit.

New Mexico State settled that lawsuit for $8 million in June.

The three charged men, along with several former coaches and New Mexico State athletic director Mario Moccia, also are named as co-defendants in a second lawsuit filed Monday. That lawsuit, filed by two other former players, claims players brought guns into the locker room where they sexually assaulted players as a way of ensuring everyone on the team remained “humble.”

School and state officials have expressed concern about student safety since November 2022, when former New Mexico State basketball player Mike Peake fatally shot Brandon Travis, a student at rival New Mexico. Peake was not charged in the shooting.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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