Bragg, suspended from basketball team, has had more than one encounter with law enforcement this school year

Suspended forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) watches warmups on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Suspended forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) watches warmups on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Another recent brush with the law by University of Kansas men’s basketball player Carlton Bragg Jr. came to light Friday, a day after KU coach Bill Self announced Bragg’s indefinite suspension from the team.

Self did not give a specific reason for Bragg's latest suspension, saying only that he had violated team rules. Self said the suspension was not connected to the ongoing investigation of a reported rape at the team's apartment building.

Bragg, 21, is a sophomore from Cleveland.

On Sept. 16, KU police received a report of a battery involving a 19-year-old female victim and her boyfriend, according to the police report, requested Friday by the Journal-World. The incident occurred around 3:30 that morning at McCarthy Hall, 1747 Naismith Drive, according to the report.

A man closed a door on a woman’s arm, causing bruising, KU police said in a corresponding crime log entry, first publicized Friday by The Kansas City Star.

Police referred the case to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, the log indicated.

Charges were not filed, said assistant to the district attorney Cheryl Wright-Kunard, who confirmed that the suspect in the case was Bragg.

“We had insufficient evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Wright-Kunard said.

On Dec. 9, Bragg was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery after a dispute with his girlfriend around 1 a.m. at a KU fraternity house.

On Dec. 14, the charge against Bragg was dismissed and the woman, Saleeha Soofi, was charged instead, also with one count of misdemeanor battery.

Authorities obtained video surveillance of the incident that reportedly showed the pair arguing in a stairwell and the woman slapping the man in the chest numerous times and placing her hands near his neck at least twice, according to a news release at the time from District Attorney Charles Branson. After being hit, the man “forcefully” shoved the woman away from him, causing her to fall backward up some stairs behind her, the district attorney’s news release said.

The alleged victim in the September report is a different woman than Soofi.

This week’s suspension from the basketball team is the second in two months for Bragg, a 6-foot-10 forward who was a McDonald’s All-American and five-star recruit coming out of high school.

Self suspended Bragg when he was charged in December but reinstated him after the battery charge was dropped.

Bragg sat out the Dec. 10 game against the University of Nebraska but played again Dec. 17 against Davidson College.

Thursday night, in a news release, Self said Bragg had been suspended from the team again — indefinitely, and effective immediately.

“Carlton is suspended for a violation of team rules,” Self said. “This violation is not connected to the alleged incident in McCarthy Hall on December 17th.”

According to a KU police report, a 16-year-old girl was reportedly raped between 10 p.m. Dec. 17 and 5 a.m. Dec. 18 in McCarthy Hall, the on-campus apartment building where the basketball team lives along with other upperclass male students.

The rape investigation remains open, and police have released no information about a possible suspect. Police have said the victim, who was not a KU student and not from this area, was visiting residents in the building. 

A runaway juvenile also was reported at McCarthy Hall the morning of Dec. 18, but police would not confirm whether the runaway and the reported rape victim are the same person.

All five witnesses named in the police report for the rape are basketball players. The single witness named in the runaway report is Bragg.

Police have not shared why those individuals were interviewed, but have said being a witness in an investigation does not necessarily mean an eyewitness to a crime, but rather someone that may have been in the area or have other pertinent information to the investigation.

While investigating the rape report, police found drug paraphernalia at McCarthy Hall and have cited one person for possession of it, KU Police Chief Chris Keary said Friday.

That charge, a misdemeanor, is pending in Lawrence Municipal Court. Documents were not available Friday.

Keary said there is no indication that the drug paraphernalia is related to the sexual assault allegation. Keary would not share the name or any other information about the suspect in the drug case.