Originally published March 29, 2019 at 01:50p.m., updated March 29, 2019 at 05:11p.m.

KU football star Pooka Williams agrees to domestic violence diversion; terms include community service, anger management

Anthony Ray Williams, Jr., also known as Pooka Williams

Anthony Ray Williams, Jr., also known as Pooka Williams


A University of Kansas star football player who was accused of punching a woman in the stomach and grabbing her throat has agreed to steps that could end the criminal case against him.

Pooka Williams and Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson signed a diversion agreement regarding a misdemeanor domestic battery charge stemming from a December 2018 incident, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Williams is required to complete 40 hours of community service by Nov. 30. He must also undergo a domestic violence offender assessment by April 30, and barring additional recommendations from the evaluator, he would have to complete an anger management course by Nov. 30.

Williams is also barred from drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs and cannot contact the victim in the case for the duration of the 12-month agreement. Along with the agreement, Williams paid a $158 court fee.

Hatem B. Chahine, Williams’ attorney, declined to comment on the agreement Friday.

A diversion is a process whereby someone accused of a crime is “diverted” from the usual legal procedures and instead completes the terms of an agreement, which may include some sort of rehabilitation program or fine. If the program is successfully completed, the criminal charges are dropped.

Chahine previously said the June 3 trial scheduled for the charge would be dropped if an agreement was filed.

“If diversion is approved, and we decide to do it, there won’t be any more court,” Chahine said after a court appearance in January. “It would keep a conviction off his record.”

The charge stemmed from a Dec. 5, 2018, incident in which Williams, 19, whose full name is Anthony Ray Williams, is accused of punching an 18-year-old KU student in the stomach, according to an affidavit.

On Dec. 6, the woman in the case told a KU police officer that Williams punched her in the stomach and grabbed her throat around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5 when they were at Stouffer Place Apartments, 1835 Ousdahl Road.

During the interview, the officer found that the woman had bruises on her arms and side, according to the affidavit. She also showed the officer text messages from Williams in which he admitted to punching her in the arms.

The officer interviewed Williams, who reportedly said that he pushed the woman when he saw her in a room with other men at the apartment building. Both Williams and the woman said they were in an intimate relationship.

KU police arrested Williams at the KU Public Safety Office, 1501 Crestline Drive, and he was booked into jail at 3 p.m. Dec. 6.

Williams spent the night in jail and made his first court appearance Dec. 7 in Douglas County District Court. He was formally charged with domestic battery, a misdemeanor.

Chahine entered a not guilty plea on Williams’ behalf. A prosecutor said Williams did not have any criminal history.

Judge James T. George set a $1,000 bond for Williams and ordered him to not make contact with the victim or return to her residence.

KU football coach Les Miles said on Dec. 7 that he was aware of a reported incident involving Williams.

“We are taking these allegations very seriously,” Miles said. “We have suspended Pooka from all team-related activities pending further investigation.”

As of Friday afternoon, Williams was still suspended from team activities, KU Athletics spokesman Jim Marchiony told the Journal-World.

"We continue to take this matter very seriously," Marchiony said.

Williams is a running back from New Orleans who arguably became the face of the team during his freshman season, in 2018, winning several weekly and seasonlong awards for his performance on the field.


Phil Leister 3 years, 6 months ago


Looking forward to watching Pooka compete this fall.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 6 months ago

Hope they let him play immediately. Lost to Nicholls St. because he was out.

Greg Ledom 3 years, 6 months ago

I hope he completes his diversion requirements, learns from this and plays this fall. Dude is one of the most electric running backs I’ve seen since Kerwin Bell. Absolutely made it fun to watch KU football among all the losses. Let’s go Les!! Bring us back.......Rock Chalk!!

Dane Pratt 3 years, 6 months ago

Completing all of the above doesn't mean he'll get reinstated. Miles can still kick him off the team.

Chris DeWeese 3 years, 6 months ago

True, but it appears Miles is adopting a wait and see attitude. If Pooka can successfully complete his diversion, it looks like he'll remain on the team (which I think is the right thing to do). The opportunity to redeem himself could be a powerful life lesson. If he can't, then he's outa here.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

Saw another article that Pooka is still suspended, at least until they complete the school's investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, this article had this quote form the "statement of facts" Pooka was required to make as part of the agreement.

“When I entered, I confronted (the victim) about cheating on me. I was upset and I grabbed her by the arms during the argument,” the stipulation of facts read. “The other people in the room separated me from (the victim), and I left the room. I later returned to get my keys. I grabbed (the victim) by the wrist to get her to come to the hall with me, but the other people in the room separated me from her. I was able to get (the victim) to come out to the hall with me. While out in the hall we continued to argue and I pushed (her) out of the way and left.”

Dale Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

So, since this "statement of facts" is part of the diversion "agreement," does that mean the alleged victim agrees with it and therefore the previously stated "grabbed me by the throat" was false? Given the agreement has to be agreed to by the prosecution, I wonder if that's the case.

Chris DeWeese 3 years, 6 months ago

I guess there's no video, so we have nothing else to go by.

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