Ex-Xavier basketball player Wells cleared of sex assault charges
Cincinnati, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Former Xavier sophomore guard-forward Dezmine Wells escaped criminal charges after a Hamilton County grand jury declined to indict him of sexual assault.
“The Grand Jury declined to charge Dezmine Wells with any criminal offense,” Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters in a statement. “I have nothing but the greatest respect for Xavier University, and in particular president Father Michael Graham. I would sincerely hope the institution would revisit this situation.”
Merlyn Shiverdecker, Wells’ lawyer, said his client was “tickled to death” that his name was cleared.
“Dez Wells exonerated, cleared of wrongdoing,” Shiverdecker said. “That’s what the headline should be. It’s a great day for Dez Wells. It’s a sad day for Xavier University.”
The decision came one week after Xavier expelled Wells for “a serious violation of the Code of Student Conduct”, despite being a key cog for the team.
Known for his high-flying dunks, the 6-5 Wells started 32 games last season as a freshman and was named to the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team. He was the team’s fourth-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game and third in rebounding with 4.9 boards per outing.
A Xavier University Conduct board made up of faculty, students and administrators determined that Wells was responsible for a serious violation of the code of conduct. The punishment for the violation, the school said in an Aug. 21 statement, is expulsion from the university.
Deters came to Wells’ defense, questioning the university’s reliance on its board to make the determination and calling the situation “fundamentally unfair” to the player.
“There is something seriously flawed with a procedure where a young man and his accuser appear before a group of people, which I would suggest probably isn’t very well trained in assessing these types of cases, and they sit there and tell their stories. No lawyers, nothing. There’s just something wrong with that,” Deters said.
“They were committed to the process. They didn’t give a damn about the result,” Shiverdecker said. “Unfortunately, they don’t have anyone with the courage to stand up and do what’s right. I hope the Xavier alumni speak loud, clear and often about this.”
With three years of eligibility remaining, Wells has been reported talking to Louisville, Memphis and Texas for a possible transfer. According to NCAA rules, he would have to sit out his first season.