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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DA: No suspect identified in McCarthy Hall rape allegation, case remains under review

The $11.2 million McCarthy Hall houses the Kansas men's basketball team to the southeast of Allen Fieldhouse on KU's campus.

The $11.2 million McCarthy Hall houses the Kansas men's basketball team to the southeast of Allen Fieldhouse on KU's campus.

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Six months after the rape of a 16-year-old girl was reported at the University of Kansas men’s basketball dorm, the case remains unresolved.

The case is still under review by the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office pending results of additional lab testing, Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to District Attorney Charles Branson, said this week.

The initial police report from the incident listed multiple crimes alleged in addition to the rape, including contributing to a child’s misconduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

There is no suspect identified in the rape allegation, Wright Kunard said Tuesday, in an email response to questions from the Journal-World. She said there is an additional crime or crimes in the same report with a suspect or suspects listed.

She declined to confirm the number of suspects or share more specific information.

“We will not discuss the identity of any suspects until a charging decision is made,” she said.

The initial KU police report indicates the section of Kansas rape law that reportedly was violated defines rape as the following: “Knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse with a victim when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of mental deficiency or disease, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the effect of any alcoholic liquor, narcotic, drug or other substance, which condition was known by the offender or was reasonably apparent to the offender."

KU police completed their investigation and turned over the case to the DA’s office on May 9.

At that time the DA’s office said a suspect or suspects had been identified in the case, but did not specify which allegation or allegations that entailed.

The DA’s office will make a decision about whether to charge anyone with a crime.

There is no timeline for that process, Wright Kunard said. The DA’s office has requested additional testing from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and results are not back, she said this week.

The victim is cooperating in the investigation, Wright Kunard said. Wright Kunard did not answer whether, as part of its review, the DA’s office was contacting any witnesses or other involved parties in the case.

McCarthy Hall, 1741 Naismith Drive on the KU campus, is an all-male apartment building operated by KU Student Housing. The building houses about 40 students — roughly half KU men’s basketball players and half upperclass, nontraditional or transfer students.

The rape of a 16-year-old girl, contributing to a child’s misconduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor were reported to KU police the morning of Dec. 18, 2016. According to the police report, the crimes allegedly occurred between 10 the night before and 5 that morning at McCarthy Hall.

Police have said the 16-year-old, who was not a KU student and not from this area, was visiting residents in the building.

Also the morning of Dec. 18, a runaway was reported at McCarthy Hall. Police would not confirm whether the runaway and the alleged rape victim were the same person.

All five witnesses listed in the rape report are 2016-17 KU men’s basketball team members. The report indicates police contacted three other people in connection with the case: a KU Athletics administrator and two 19-year-old women. In the runaway report, a sixth men’s basketball player is named as a witness along with the same two 19-year-old women.

Police did not explain why any of those people were contacted in the investigations. Police did say that being a witness in an investigation does not necessarily mean an eyewitness to a crime but rather someone who may have been in the area before or after or have other pertinent information.

Initially, the Dec. 18 police report also contained an allegation of possession of drug paraphernalia, but that was separated out and prosecuted independently from the other crimes.

In that case, then-KU basketball player Carlton Bragg Jr. — who coach Bill Self announced in April was leaving the team with plans to transfer in the off season — was charged in Lawrence Municipal Court with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. Bragg received a diversion.

KU police said previously that while drug paraphernalia was found during the McCarthy Hall case investigation, there was no indication the drug paraphernalia was related to the sexual assault allegation.

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