3 Charged In UNC Football Player Attack

In this photo released by the Chapel Hill Police Department, Tnika Monta Washington is shown Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007, in Chapel Hill, N.C. Police have charged Washington and two others with a weekend attack on three North Carolina football players, which police said was motivated by robbery and included the sexual assault of at least two players.
AP Photo/Chapel Hill Police Dept.
Authorities have charged two women and a man with a weekend attack on three North Carolina football players, which police said was likely motivated by robbery but included the sexual assault of at least two players.

Police said the University of North Carolina players were attacked early Sunday at their off-campus apartment. All three were bound with tape before they were assaulted, and one of those charged threatened the players with a knife. None of the players required medical attention, police said.

Authorities charged Monique Jenice Taylor, 28, Tnika Monta Washington, 29, and Michael Troy Lewis, 32, with three counts of kidnapping, three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and one count of resisting arrest.

Taylor and Washington are also charged with one count of first-degree sexual offense. Lewis is also charged with robbery, possession of stolen goods and assault on government officials.

Prosecutors said the players and the accused went to the victims' apartment after meeting at a downtown bar.

At a Thursday court hearing, assistant Orange County prosecutor Morgan Whitney cited a police report and said one of the players was drunk and taken to his room, according to a story posted by The News & Observer of Raleigh on its Web site.

Whitney said the other two had some consensual sexual contact with the women, but then became uncomfortable and told them to stop.

Whitney said Taylor then pulled off the victim's pants, pushed him down on a bed, attempted to tie his hands with his belt and started to fondle him against his consent, reports CBS News affiliate WRAL-TV.

"The more that he wrestled, Mr. Lewis put his knife further, or closer, to the victim's neck," Whitney said. "Ms. Taylor fondled his private parts. He repeatedly said no, and as he continued to resist, Ms. Taylor and the co-defendant, Ms. Washington, began to beat him in the face."

Taylor's attorney, Glenn Gerding, said the fondling was consensual, reports WRAL.

When police arrived at the scene, two of the victims were tied up, wearing boxer shorts, Whitney said. The hands of the third victim, who was fully clothed, also were tied, Whitney said.

Police arrested Taylor and Washington at the scene. Lewis fled after a confrontation with officers, Chapel Hill police said. He surrendered on Wednesday, reports WRAL.

At least two of the players were sexually assaulted, and authorities were awaiting the final police report to learn if the third was as well, Whitney said. Defense attorneys told the court the acts were consensual.

Whitney said the details came from a preliminary report written from one officer's notes, and he told the court he expected to learn more as the investigation progressed. Chapel Hill police said Thursday night a supervisor was not available to discuss the case.

All three defendants were initially jailed on a $500,000 secured bond, but the bond for Taylor and Belvin's was reduced Thursday to $50,000. All three remained in the Orange County Jail on Thursday evening, where officials would not make them available for comment.

"This is a very unusual case," Taylor's attorney, Glenn Gerding, told WRAL. "Almost unbelievable, at first blush."

Gerding did not immediately return a message seeking comment from The Associated Press.

Police said they arrested the two women at the scene, while Lewis surrendered Wednesday after fleeing during a confrontation with police.

Neither authorities or the university released the players' names, with the school citing federal privacy laws that govern educational institutions.

"I am relieved that the players were not injured," said coach Butch Davis. "We will assist them in any way we can."