August 21, 2018 / 12:26 AM / a year ago

Wisconsin suspends WR Cephus after sexual-assault charges

Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus was charged with two felony counts of sexual assault on Monday, charges that Madison Police say involve two different women stemming from the same night in April.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 16, 2017; Provo, UT, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Quintez Cephus (87) scores on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dane County authorities charged Cephus with third-degree sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault of an intoxicated victim, stemming from the night of April 22.

Madison Police say they interviewed a woman at an emergency room that night who said she was sexually assaulted at Cephus’ apartment. During their investigation, police say they learned a second woman was also in the apartment and also said she was a victim of sexual assault.

Shortly after the charges emerged, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez announced that Cephus — who tweeted Saturday that he was taking a leave of absence “to focus all of my attention on clearing my name” — is suspended from “competition and practice pending the availability of further information relating to this case.”

Wisconsin’s student-athlete discipline policy mandates a suspension for any player charged with sexual assault or a violent crime. ESPN reported Saturday that Cephus would be subject to a “factual inquiry,” during which he could remain on scholarship.

Cephus said in his announcement Saturday that he expected charges to be filed against him, though he did not specify what charges.

“I have been wrongfully accused of unlawful conduct, and I am innocent of any allegations associated with this consensual relationship,” Cephus wrote. “I am now forced to take a leave of absence from the team in order to focus all of my attention on clearing my name.

“My football family has been supportive to me and I have too much respect for Coach (Paul) Chryst, his staff and my teammates to become a distraction in what I know will be an outstanding year for the Badgers.”

Cephus, a junior, was expected to start for Wisconsin this season. He missed the final five games of the 2017 season with a broken leg but still finished second on the team with 501 receiving yards. He has 34 career receptions for 595 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons in Madison.

The Badgers open the season Aug. 31 at home against Western Kentucky.

—Field Level Media

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