Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. charged with rape, suspended

No. 11 Illinois men’s basketball star Terrence Shannon Jr. has been suspended from all team activities after he was charged with rape, the school announced Thursday.

A warrant for Shannon’s arrest was issued by the Douglas County (Kansas) district attorney’s office Wednesday over an alleged sexual assault that happened in September. According to jail records, Shannon turned himself in and was arrested in Lawrence, Kansas, on Thursday morning on a charge of “rape; sexual intercourse without consent and use of force.”

The university said in a statement that the alleged incident occurred while Shannon was in Lawrence to attend the Illinois-Kansas football game. The school noted that Shannon was “not in Lawrence on official University business, nor was he a member of the University’s travel party.”

Shannon posted $50,000 bail Thursday and was returning to Champaign, Illinois, according to the school. Mark P. Sutter, an Illinois-based attorney representing Shannon, said his client is innocent and intends to take the case to trial.

“Since September, when these allegations surfaced, Terrence has cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation, declaring his innocence from the beginning,” Sutter said in a statement. “Now, several months later, my office learned that formal charges were filed against him yesterday in Lawrence, KS. In less than 24 hours, my client responded, and he voluntarily surrendered to local authorities for processing and release. Terrence is innocent of these charges, and he intends to take his case to trial.”

Cheryl Cadue, a spokeswoman with the Douglas County district attorney’s office, told ESPN, “We are unable to comment at this time.”

Illinois officials said they had been aware of a Lawrence police investigation involving Shannon since late September but did not receive “actionable information” until Wednesday, when the warrant for his arrest was issued.

The incident allegedly occurred Sept. 9. The charge against Shannon states that he “unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly engaged in sexual intercourse with a person … who did not consent to the sexual intercourse under circumstances when she, was overcome by force or fear, a severity level 1 person felony,” according to a copy of the complaint obtained by ESPN on Thursday afternoon.

The woman is not named, but multiple law enforcement officers and another unnamed individual are listed as witnesses.

The official complaint says Shannon faces a minimum of 147 months and a maximum of 653 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $300,000 if he’s convicted.

Athletic director Josh Whitman noted the school’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct.

“The University and [the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics] have shown time and again that we have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct,” Whitman said in a statement. “At the same time, DIA policy affords student-athletes appropriate levels of due process based on the nature and severity of the allegations. We will rely on that policy and our prior experiences to manage this situation appropriately for the University and the involved parties.”

Shannon, a Chicago native, has been one of the top players in college basketball this season. The guard leads the Illini with 21.7 points per game and has connected on 40.8% of his 3-point attempts.

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