Ex-New Mexico State basketball players face sex-crime charges in hazing scandal

A grand jury charged three former New Mexico State basketball players Thursday with sex crimes against then-teammates and student staff during hazing incidents that occurred last year and led the school to shut down its men’s basketball season in February.

Kim Aiken Jr., Doctor Bradley and Deshawndre Washington were indicted on multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment, and each faces one count of criminal sexual penetration, conspiracy to commit criminal sexual contact and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.

Bradley and Washington were each indicted on 13 felonies. Aiken was charged with 11.

“The indictment filed against three former student athletes at New Mexico State University should serve as an unambiguous signal to everyone in this state that hazing will not be tolerated at our educational institutions,” New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez said in a statement. “Players, coaches and administrators at every level are on notice that this type of violent conduct will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They should also be aware that while this action is an important first step in addressing this inexcusable behavior, our work in correcting the culture that allowed these crimes to occur is far from finished.”

New Mexico State canceled the 2022-23 basketball season with six games left on its schedule in mid-February as the university investigated allegations of hazing within the program. The school initially placed coach Greg Heiar on administrative leave, but he was fired days after the season was canceled.

Thursday’s indictments, which represent the first criminal charges stemming from the scandal, are connected to incidents that occurred from August to November 2022.

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The trio is “accused of holding younger players and student staff against their will while they violated them. Alleged acts included multiple incidents in which they forcefully restrained victims while violently grabbing their genital areas,” according to Torrez.

Aiken and Washington did not join new teams after the season shutdown. Bradley joined Nicholls State ahead of this season, but a university spokesperson told El Paso station KTSM on Thursday that he is no longer with the program. Heiar, who has said he was made a scapegoat in the ordeal, was hired in July at Mineral Area College, a junior college in Missouri.

In June, New Mexico State agreed to pay $8 million to settle a lawsuit brought by former players Deuce Benjamin and Shakiru Odunewu, who said they were sexually assaulted by teammates. Aiken, Bradley and Washington were named defendants in that lawsuit alongside Heiar, former assistant coach Dominique Taylor and the NMSU board of regents.

On Monday, two former New Mexico State basketball players and a student manager filed a lawsuit lodging similar allegations of sexual assault, adding that teammates regularly brought guns to the locker room despite firearms not being allowed on the school’s campus. Aiken, Bradley and Washington are also defendants in that lawsuit.

Beyond the hazing episodes, then-New Mexico State player Mike Peake was involved in the November shooting death of University of New Mexico student Brandon Travis. Peake was ruled to have been acting in self-defense in that incident, in which nobody has been charged.

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