Aug 21, 2013 12:32 PM EDT
Maryland Basketball Player Dez Wells Sues Xavier University for Wrongful Expulsion
Former Xavier University basketball player Dez Wells has sued the school for being wrongfully expelled based on what he said is a false sexual assault accusation, the Associated Press reported.
Wells' federal lawsuit also named Xavier's president Father Michael Graham as a defendant. Graham said in a statement Wednesday the school would defend its expulsion of Wells.
"The university has never revealed the specific charge against Dez Wells other than to say he was found responsible for a violation of the student code of conduct," Graham wrote. "The university will vigorously defend the process and the decision."
Wells was expelled about a year ago for a female student accused him of sexual assault. A Hamilton County grand jury did not indict Wells after hearing the case's evidence, which caused prosecutor Joe Deters to question the school's decision to expel.
"From the moment this nightmare began, I've told the truth. I am innocent," Wells said in a statement Wednesday. "It's time to make this right. Xavier needs to set the record straight."
Xavier expelled Wells for a "serious violation" of the student conduct code and the decision was made by a board of faculty, students and administrators as part of standard procedure.
Wells transferred to the University of Maryland and played last season after the NCAA decided to waive the normal rule for transfer student-athletes to sit out their first year. He said he has been heckled by fans and continually has his character questioned.
Wells is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit as well as the expulsion vacated, despite no desire to return.
"The repercussions to Dez of the school's reckless actions are significant," attorney Peter Ginsberg said.
The lawsuit states Wells did have consensual sex with the woman, but that Xavier rushed to an unfair judgment, causing emotional distress and public humiliation. Wells wants his record clean as he pursues a career in the NBA or possibly elsewhere.
"Xavier's statement forever falsely taints and permanently damages Wells as a student who was expelled from his university for a rape that did not occur," his lawsuit states. "Wells will eventually graduate from college and will likely face difficulties in obtaining employment as a result of Xavier's actions and false and defamatory statement, or, alternatively, professional basketball teams will be more hesitant to sign Wells."
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