Grand jury indicts 3 former NMSU players on felony sex charges
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A grand jury on Wednesday indicted three former New Mexico State University basketball players on felony sex charges, court records show.
Doctor Bradley and DeShawndre Washington each face 13 charges, while Kim Aiken Jr. faces 11. They are charged in the Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces.
Bradley, Aiken and Washington are each accused of criminal sexual penetration. They also each face two counts of conspiracy.
Bradley and Washington also face five counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and five counts of false imprisonment. Aiken faces four of each.
“Frankly, this was a program that was completely out of control,” said New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez. “You leave them in the hands of a responsible adult, whether it’s a school administrator or a coach – you expect them to keep those kids safe.”
A spokesperson for Torrez’s office says they have identified four victims that endured escalating sexual hazing encounters from September to November last year.
But this investigation is far from over.
“What I’m more interested in now is – who are these three individuals? What was in their background? Who were these coaches? Did they know that they were bringing people into a program that were likely to engage in this behavior?” Torrez said.
NMSP Head Coach Greg Heiar was fired after the hazing allegations surfaced. At the time, he claimed he was a scapegoat.
“I think we have a lot of facts to uncover and a lot of things to learn,” said Torrez.
Torrez says these charges alone sends a message to all schools in New Mexico.
“Violence, misconduct, hazing of any kind in these programs – whether it be in a high school or a college – will not be tolerated,” Torrez said.
NMSU settled a civil lawsuit for $8 million with two former players.
At the time, NMSU officials called the hazing incident “resolved” but the attorney general says the investigation continues.
“Victims of crime – they deserve justice,” said Torrez.
In April, two players and their attorneys filed a lawsuit, naming the three former players. The lawsuit says they allegedly provoked “unwanted physical and sexual contact,” and were “frequently inappropriate, disrespectful, degrading and violent” toward teammates.
The two players allege administrators didn’t take action after they reported the sexual assaults. In the wake of the allegations at NMSU, they said they intended to leave the team.
Three days after NMSU suspended the season, the Board of Regents fired coach Greg Heiar.
This isn’t the only hazing scandal a New Mexico university is facing, either.
ENMU’s Board of Regents also faces a similar hazing lawsuit, filed on behalf of three former women’s basketball players. The players allege the head coach’s husband sexually assaulted them but that the head coach and ENMU administrators, including the athletics director, didn’t do enough to intervene when they reported the assaults.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she plans to pursue anti-hazing legislation in the next session, saying “I — along with my administration — have ZERO tolerance for abuse of any kind, and I will root out cultures of hazing and abuse at every higher education institution in New Mexico.”
The governor also said New Mexico is just one of six states that don’t have an anti-hazing law in place. Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii are the others.
The university also named Jason Hooten as Heiar’s replacement in March.
New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez issued the following statement regarding the charges:
“The indictment filed against three former student-athletes at New Mexico State University should serve as an unambiguous signal to everyone in this state that hazing will not be tolerated at our educational institutions. Players, coaches and administrators at every level are on notice that this type of violent conduct will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They should also be aware that while this action is an important first step in addressing this inexcusable behavior, our work in correcting the culture that allowed these crimes to occur is far from finished.”