• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Terrence Shannon files for restraining order against Illinois


Jan 9, 2024 #Sports


Terrence Shannon Jr. filed for a temporary restraining order Monday that demands his school “immediately reinstate” the Illinois basketball player who was suspended indefinitely from all team activities last month following an arrest on a rape charge, his lawyer, Mark Sutter, told ESPN. The charge stems from an alleged rape in September.

Shannon’s lawsuit, filed by Sutter and his legal team in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court in Champaign, lists the Illinois board of trustees and school president Timothy Killeen as defendants.

After a warrant was issued for Shannon in Douglas County, Kansas, last month, he submitted to authorities and was briefly jailed before posting bail and returning to Champaign.

According to the initial complaint, Shannon was charged with “unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly engaged in sexual intercourse with a person … who did not consent to the sexual intercourse under circumstances when she was overcome by force or fear, a severity level 1 person felony.”

The temporary restraining order, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, claims Shannon was not granted due process before he was removed from the team. He is set to be arraigned Jan. 18, but the trial for the case would not begin until June, after the conclusion of the college basketball season.

“Does the presumption of innocence really mean anything? That question is at the heart of this case,” the lawsuit states. “Illinois has promised [Shannon] that it would adhere to this presumption, but in practice Illinois has not applied it by suspending [him] and ruining his career as if he were already convicted. [Shannon] maintains his innocence, for the record. Sexual assault is a horrific crime, and [Shannon] is appalled that his name is mentioned in the same sentence with such a crime, and he in no way seeks to minimize that it is a real problem.”

Illinois officials said they are reviewing Shannon’s lawsuit but will defend the school’s disciplinary process.

“We are aware that legal counsel for Terrence Shannon Jr. has filed for injunctive relief from his suspension from the men’s basketball program,” Robin Kaler, associate chancellor at Illinois, said in a statement. “We will review the filing and defend our student-athlete misconduct procedures, which allow us to respond swiftly to allegations of misconduct and serious crimes while affording our student-athletes a fair process and waiting for the legal system and university discipline processes to proceed.”

Per the lawsuit, Shannon drove to Kansas with teammate Justin Harmon and DyShawn Hobson, an Illinois grad assistant who accompanied the two players on the trip on the weekend of a Kansas football game. The alleged rape happened at a local bar in Lawrence, Kansas, where a woman said Shannon touched her inappropriately and sexually assaulted her. She then, per the investigative report included in the lawsuit filed by Shannon, went to Lawrence police, who contacted Illinois.

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman confirmed that the school was notified by Lawrence police that Shannon had been the subject of an investigation that involved an allegation he had inappropriately touched a woman, but Illinois officials were not told the details of that investigation.

In a later news conference, Whitman said school officials learned about the warrant for his arrest last month on social media.

“The university and [the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics] have shown time and again that we have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct,” Whitman said in a statement after Shannon was suspended from all team activities. “At the same time, DIA policy affords student-athletes appropriate levels of due process based on the nature and severity of the allegations. We will rely on that policy and our prior experiences to manage this situation appropriately for the university and the involved parties.”

Shannon’s lawsuit states that he has been told by Illinois officials the school will not reconsider his suspension until his legal case is resolved, which would force him to miss the rest of the 2023-24 season and “suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief, as his career will certainly be ruined if the suspension continues, trouncing on his business interests including contractual rights.”

“All we want for our client is a fair process, and [Shannon] has not received that yet,” Shannon’s legal team said in a statement to ESPN. “Respectfully, this was a rush to judgment by the university, and the protocol that they implemented to summarily suspend our client ignored the fundamentals of due process and the presumption of innocence. Our team remains hopeful that justice will ultimately be served.”

Shannon is averaging 21.7 points this season.


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