Grand jury rejects sexual assault charges against expelled Xavier player Wells

CBSSports.com wire reports
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Dez Wells won't face criminal charges, but Xavier says its expulsion decision is final. (Getty Images)  
Dez Wells won't face criminal charges, but Xavier says its expulsion decision is final. (Getty Images)  

CINCINNATI -- 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 U.S. universities.

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

Before the school commented Tuesday, Wells' attorney said the grand jury decision "is at least one step in Dez trying to get back his good name." Lawyer Merlyn Shiverdecker told WLW Radio in Cincinnati that Wells loved Xavier, his teammates and coaches but was conflicted over returning if that became possible.

"He's very disappointed and hurt about the nature of allegations against him and the fact that this ever happened," Shiverdecker said.

The attorney didn't immediately return a call for comment on Xavier's response.

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.

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