UA athlete accused of sexual assault

Indictment alleges football player attacked woman passed out on couch at gathering
2008-05-20T00:00:00Z UA athlete accused of sexual assaultBy Alexis Huicochea and Ryan Finley Arizona daily star Arizona Daily Star

A University of Arizona football player has been indicted in connection with a sexual assault that occurred last month, officials said Monday.

Johnathan Turner, 23, was indicted on the sexual-assault charge Friday, said Deputy Dawn Hanke, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

The indictment stems from an incident April 2 when the victim told authorities she and some of her friends were drinking at a residence near North Camino de Oeste and West Sweetwater Drive, Hanke said. The victim said she passed out on a couch and woke up around 2:30 a.m. to find Turner sexually assaulting her, according to a search-warrant affidavit filed in Pima County Superior Court shortly after the incident.

The victim said she pushed Turner off her, went into a bedroom and told her friend what had just happened, the affidavit said.

"Mr. Turner followed her into the bedroom and stated nothing had happened," the search-warrant affidavit said. "He described (the victim) as 'tripping out.' He continued to state he was just 'cuddling' with (the victim)."

The victim was taken to St. Mary's Hospital by her friends, and sheriff's adult-sex-crimes detectives investigated.

DNA evidence was obtained, along with two quilts and seat cushions from the couch, the search warrant shows.

Turner, from Corona, Calif., was not booked into jail, Hanke said. He is a junior defensive end for the UA football team and a sociology major.

Coach Mike Stoops suspended Turner for unspecified reasons April 5.

Stoops said Monday he was unaware of the indictment — "it's news to me," he said — but had been monitoring Turner's status since he was named an investigative lead in the case in early April.

"I'm obviously aware of the situation, and I will let the judicial system take its course," Stoops said. "We'll have some kind of statement when it moves further."

Stoops will meet with Athletic Director Jim Livengood this week to talk about Turner's status. For now, Turner will remain on scholarship but will not be able to practice or work out with the team, Stoops said.

"I really haven't talked to Jim about that or the university," Stoops said. "I'm sure we'll discuss that and what's best for all parties, and make some kind of decision this week."

Livengood said the athletic department cannot comment on Turner's pending legal issues. Turner could lose his scholarship if convicted, according to rules spelled out in the university's student-athlete code of conduct.

"It's in other people's hands right now," Livengood said. "We just have to go through the process. We can't make comments about student-athletes, or certainly about staff in this situation. The system has to play out. We all have rights."

Turner, a 6-foot-3-inch, 263-pounder, was expected to start this fall at defensive end. He has 25 career starts, third-highest on the team.

● Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at 629-9412 or ahuicochea@azstarnet.com.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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