College Football College Football

Vols' CB identified in rape of 16-year-old

Posted: Friday June 13, 2003 6:19 PM
Updated: Friday June 13, 2003 9:47 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Two police incident reports released Friday identify Antwan Stewart as the Tennessee football player a 16-year-old girl has accused of raping her in a dormitory room last month.

The girl reported to campus and Knoxville police on May 18 that she had been sexually assaulted the night before when she and a 17-year-old friend were visiting Gibbs Hall, a dormitory primarily occupied by athletes.

Reports from both police departments name 19-year-old Stewart, of Triangle, Va., as the suspect. No charges have been filed, but authorities have said the investigation continues.

According to the UT police report, the girl said she went to the second floor of Gibbs Hall on May 17 with her friend, whom she said "had previously been to the Gibbs Hall to visit residents there."

"The 16-year-old female said she went to [UT football player] Marvin Lee Mitchell's room. A black male she knows only as Antwan took her to another room and sexually assaulted her," according to the UTPD report. The Knoxville police report indicated the incident occurred between 6 and 7 p.m.

The girl underwent an examination for rape at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, police said.

Knoxville police were sent to the girl's home on May 18 to investigate her claims.

Stewart, who redshirted last season, was projected to be a starter at cornerback following spring practice. He was named as one of the two most improved defensive players on the team this spring.

The team roster lists him at 6-foot, 180 pounds, but UT police recorded his height as 5-10.

Mitchell, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, is a sophomore linebacker and played in four games last season.

Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols said he met with the girl and her mother on Wednesday to gain "firsthand knowledge" of the case.

"I'm the one who's going to have to answer questions later on about this case," Nichols told The Knoxville News Sentinel.

He did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Friday.

Stewart has declined to give a statement to police, Nichols said.

Messages left Friday by The Associated Press for Stewart at his dorm room and his Virginia address were not immediately returned.

But his mother, in a phone interview Friday evening with the Potomac News in Woodbridge, Va., said the matter was behind her son.

"They all called, the coach, the DA," Joan Stewart said, "and they said it was finished."

Knoxville police spokesman Darrel DeBusk could not explain why the case has not yet been resolved by charges being filed or the investigation closed.

"You would have to ask the DA that," DeBusk said. "I can't tell you. The DA is looking at it right now and they are the ones that will decide on charges, if there are any charges to be placed."

Later on the night of May 17, Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer and his attorney Jeff Hagood met with the 17-year-old friend, her mother and another adult relative.

The 17-year-old girl suspected the younger girl was going to accuse Stewart of misconduct, and she alerted other players, Fulmer has said. Some players told Fulmer about the situation, and the coach arranged the meeting.

Fulmer said he was trying to uncover the truth about the incident, not influence a possible witness or impede the investigation.

Nichols said he didn't "think there was anything sinister" about Fulmer's meeting but deemed it "disruptive" and has said it casts "an odd light on the case."

"Police authorities are trained to conduct investigations and I don't think he is," Nichols said. "I would prefer to have a cleaner investigation."

Stewart remains on the team but was disciplined, Fulmer said, for showing bad judgment by allowing the girl in his dorm room.

The 17-year-old girl provided Fulmer a written statement during their meeting about what occurred in the dorm. Nichols said that statement has been made part of the investigative file.

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