With college football season bearing down on us, college basketball has, as usual, taken a backseat during the doldrums of late August.
But as in the case every year, there has been a story that has dominated interest and headlines and discussion on twitter. Here, it’s Dezmine Wells.
Earlier this month, Wells was expelled from Xavier for what was reported to be an incident of sexual misconduct. The incident brought Wells in front of a Grand Jury, and not only did they decline to press charges against him, the prosecutor in the case teed off on the University on the radio, more or less saying that they had ruined the reputation of a kid that couldn’t be found guilty. After Xavier released a statement saying that their decision to expel Wells was final, Wells’ attorney took his turn blasting the school in the media.
Given the scrutiny that Xavier is currently under when it comes to sexual assault cases — the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights had been investigating how the school looks into and deals with alleged sexual assaults given inadequate action in recent cases — it’s pretty easy to put two and two together and assume that Wells got screwed by his school because of what had happened in the past.
And today, Wells broke his silence on the expulsion, speaking with Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com:
Wells was quick to admit he shouldn’t have put himself in the situation which resulted in his dismissal from the school, one which began with an innocent game of “Truth or Dare” and culminated with an allegation of sexual assault from a fellow student. He was also adamant that it was not rape, but consensual.
He also said that he believes his punishment was an overreaction to previous issues the school has had:
“I didn’t think the process was fair. I went into it as guilty and having to prove my innocence instead of them having to prove that I was guilty,” he said from his home in North Carolina. “I feel like everyone rushed the process and panicked. They went with a gut feel. I understand the severity of the accusations. Rape is one of the highest felonies in the world, but I think they just panicked.”
What a nightmare, on all accounts.
We will never know what actually happened that night between Wells and his accuser, and speculating only further muddies the waters. I will say this: no one in this situation comes out on top. Xavier has their dirty laundry — their inability to adequately deal with sexual assaults on the campus — aired publicly and to a much broader audience with a basketball star being involved. Wells will forever have his named linked to an expulsion for sexual assault through a simple google search. And, of course, there’s the girl, who a) is lying about being sexually assaulted, b) actually believes she was sexually assaulted, or c) was sexually assaulted and has been completely discredited.
Again, what a nightmare.