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Grand jury declines to charge Wells

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CINCINNATI (AP)

A grand jury has rejected criminal charges against former Xavier University basketball player Dez Wells, a week after the school expelled him.


A prosecutor said Tuesday that Xavier should reconsider the expulsion, but the school said its decision is final.

Prosecutors presented allegations of sexual assault against Wells to the county grand jury, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said.

''We always take allegations of this nature very seriously,'' Deters said. ''The grand jury declined to charge Dezmine Wells with any criminal offense.''

The university last week expelled Wells for what it called a ''serious violation'' of the school's code of student conduct. At the time, the school gave no details of the violation, but said a conduct board consisting of faculty, students and administrators made the decision.

''I would sincerely hope the institution would revisit this situation,'' Deters said in a statement.

A Xavier spokeswoman, Kelly Leon, said federal law doesn't allow universities to cede student conduct matters to the criminal justice system, but ''requires schools to act quickly'' and to rule based on a ''preponderance of the evidence.'' She said its conduct board uses the process that is standard for US universities.

Leon said the conduct board's decision was upheld by an appeal board, and is final.

''I think it's a shame that that's the position that they have adopted,'' said Wells' attorney, Merlyn Shiverdecker. ''The hearing was fundamentally unfair. ... The decision was wrong.''

Shiverdecker said the university had rushed to judgment but said Wells appreciated that the prosecutor's office gave him ''the only forum where he could get his good name back .... The actions of the grand jury have vindicated him of wrongdoing.''

He said Wells loved Xavier, his teammates and coaches but was disappointed and hurt by the allegations and the university's treatment of him. He said other schools have already expressed interest in landing Wells.

Wells started 32 games as a freshman last season and was the team's fourth-leading scorer while making the Atlantic 10's all-rookie team. He would have been the only returning starter for a team that reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. The forward averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds.

He was suspended for four games for his role in an on-court brawl with rival Cincinnati during the season. Wells was among four Xavier players suspended, with Cincinnati also suspending four players.

Deters had looked into possible criminal charges against some players in the December brawl but decided against it.

Tagged: Xavier

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