UPDATE 3-31-11: Overton appeared in Seattle Municipal Court today and was granted a "dispositional continuance," meaning the misdemeanor charge against him will be dropped if he completes 24 hours of community service and is not charged with another crime in the next year. Overton was represented in court by Mike Hunsinger, a lawyer renowned for his work with troubled UW student athletes, including 14 football players on the notorious 2000 football team whose exploits were meticulously chronicled in the Seattle Times series, "Victory in Ruins."
The cat--or rather the Dawg--is out of the bag in the case of the UW basketball player accused earlier this year of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl he met on Facebook. Months of widespread speculation about the player's identity came to a halt today when the city attorney's office announced it was pressing charges against UW point guard Venoy Overton. There's just one catch: He's not being charged with rape.
Felony sexual assault charges fall under the jurisdiction of King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and his office decided not to press charges back in February, citing conflicting accounts from the alleged victim and several witnesses, and the fact that the age of consent in Washington is 16.
Instead, the 23-year-old Overton now faces a misdemeanor charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. The Seattle Times had the scoop earlier this afternoon, including some scandalous details from a Seattle Police report:
The charge stems from a Jan. 8 incident when Overton allegedly met up with two 16-year-old girls and took them to his sister's apartment in South Seattle. A Seattle police report says Overton, 22, furnished the girls with alcohol and had sex with both . . .
. . . According to a report by Seattle police Detective Kyle Kizzier, one of the girls said that she encountered Overton on Facebook shortly before their meeting.
On Jan. 8, the girl and her friend took a bus to Seattle after she told her mother they were going to a movie in Bellevue and then shopping, Kizzier's report said. The two girls met up with Overton and his friends at a McDonald's near Seattle Center.
The girls then rode with Overton in his car to his sister's apartment in South Seattle, stopping for alcohol on the way, the report said.
The girls told police they both drank at the apartment, Kizzier's report said.
The girl who later brought her case to Seattle police said she was compelled into a sex act with Overton after seeing her friend engage in the same act with him, the report said. She later told police "it just happened," according to the report.
The city attorney's decision to press charges couldn't have come at a worse possible time for the Husky hoops squad. They face their cross-state rivals WSU in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament Thursday. A win virtually guarantees UW a spot in the NCAA Tournament, while a loss potentially sends them to the NIT.
The Huskies started Pac-10 play with four consecutive wins, but faltered in the wake of the rape allegations, losing their next game on the road against Stanford and playing .500 basketball for the rest of the season. Overton, a senior, was demoted from the starting lineup by Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar but never suspended.
Romar has not yet announced whether Overton will play in Thursday's game against WSU. UPDATE 2:37 p.m.: The Times' Percy Allen reports that Romar has suspended Overton for the duration of the Pac-10 tourament.
Overton's first appearance in Municipal Court is scheduled for April 1, which could be problematic if his team goes on a run in the postseason--the first game of the Final Four will be played April 2 in Houston.