Police report names two Tennessee players in rape investigation

BY foxsports • November 18, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson and cornerback Michael Williams have been identified as subjects of a rape investigation, according to a Knoxville Police report released Tuesday.

Police say no charges have been filed in the investigation of the incident at a Knoxville apartment. The university suspended Johnson and Williams on Monday from all team-related activities.

The report states that Knoxville police investigator Tim Riddle spoke to two 19-year-old women on Sunday at the University of Tennessee Medical Center at about 4:30 a.m. One woman said Johnson and Williams raped her at the apartment complex. A second woman said she was sexually assaulted by Williams at the same location.

Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said the women say the incident occurred sometime between 1:45 and 2:30 a.m.

DeBusk said the woman who said she was sexually assaulted "has decided not to prosecute at this time," but that the other woman wanted to press charges. DeBusk said the woman who said she was raped is a Tennessee student. He said the other woman is from out of state and has returned home.

The Associated Press doesn't name people who say they have been raped or sexually assaulted.

"Obviously it's very difficult, but it's a situation that we're in," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said after Tuesday's practice. "That's about all that I can comment right now as it goes through the legal process."

Jones declined comment on why he decided to suspend the players now rather than waiting to see if charges would be filed.

DeBusk said police have been "in constant contact" with the District Attorney's office since Sunday. He declined to give a timetable on when a decision might be reached on whether to file charges in the case. DeBusk said both players and the woman who wanted to press charges have hired attorneys, but he wouldn't release the lawyers' names.

Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen issued a statement that her office "does not comment on ongoing investigations that are being conducted by local law enforcement agencies. Once an agency concludes its work, it will submit the results to our office for review. Ethical rules prohibit us from commenting further."

Johnson, a four-year starter, ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 101 tackles and leads the conference with 10.1 tackles per game. Johnson has produced over 100 tackles each of the last three seasons, and his 425 career tackles represent Tennessee's second-highest total since the school started keeping track of that statistic in 1970.

The senior from Gainesville, Georgia, was a first-team all-SEC selection last season and has been one of Tennessee's most popular players the last few years for his productive performance and exuberant personality on the field.

Williams, a sophomore from Laurel, Maryland, has started five of Tennessee's 10 games. He has 23 tackles. He is a two-sport athlete who also competed on Tennessee's track team last year.

While declining to comment specifically on the charges facing Johnson and Williams, Tennessee's players said Tuesday that the issue isn't distracting them or hindering their preparation.

"You've just got to unite together and stay focused," said senior defensive tackle Jordan Williams, who isn't related to Michael. "We came out this week with great focus, a great attitude. We had a great practice today. We're just moving forward."

Tennessee (5-5, 2-4) hosts No. 20 Missouri (8-2, 5-1) on Saturday. The Volunteers are one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.