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Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. seeks restraining order against school following suspension

Illinois' Terrence Shannon Jr. brings the ball down the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri Friday, Dec. 22, 2023, in St. Louis. Shannon filed a temporary restraining order Monday, Jan 8, 2024, against the university in an effort to be reinstated after being suspended indefinitely following a rape charge stemming from an alleged incident that happened when the football team played at Kansas in September.

Illinois star basketball player Terrence Shannon Jr. sought a temporary restraining order Monday against the university in an effort to be reinstated after being suspended following a rape charge stemming from an alleged incident that happened when the football team played at Kansas in September.

Attorneys Mark P. Sutter, Rob Lang, Steve Beckett and Mark Goldenberg filed the order in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court in Champaign, saying the university rushed to judgment and did not follow its protocols.

“All we want for our client is a fair process, and TJ has not received that yet,” they said in a statement.
Illinois associate chancellor Robin Kaler said the school will review the lawsuit and defend its disciplinary methods.

“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,” Kaler said.

No. 10 Illinois’ next game is against Michigan State at home on Thursday. The Illini host Maryland on Sunday.

Prosecutors in Douglas County charged Shannon on Dec. 5 with rape or an alternative count of sexual battery. The complaint says the accuser was born in 2005. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Illinois suspended Shannon on Dec. 28 from “all team activities, effective immediately.”

The rape charge carries a sentence of 12 to 54 years in prison, while the battery charge carries a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.

The alleged incident happened on Sept. 8 when Shannon attended the Illini’s football game at Kansas.

The affidavit, which was released Tuesday, said a woman reported that a man waved her over to him early on the morning of Sept. 9 as she and a friend were getting ready to leave a loud and crowded room in the basement of a popular Lawrence bar.

The woman told police said she didn’t say anything to the man before he started pulling her toward him, putting his hands under her skirt and touching her sexually. She said the room was so crowded she couldn’t “do anything,” the affidavit said.

She estimated it lasted a minute or less before she was able to push through the crowd to get away. She told police she wasn’t intoxicated and didn’t confront the man, speculating that what happened was done “just to prove he could do it.” After stopping at home, she went to the hospital to undergo a sexual assault examination, the affidavit said.

She told police the man didn’t give his name but that she recognized he was standing next to a Kansas basketball player. She ultimately identified Shannon by looking at the Illinois team’s basketball roster and an Instagram post, the affidavit said.

Shannon was not part of the school’s traveling party. But Dyshawn Hobson, a graduate assistant for the Illinois team, drove Shannon and player Justin Harmon to Lawrence and “generally kept an eye on them,” he said in a statement introduced by Shannon’s attorney.

Hobson said he was with Shannon almost the entire time at the bar. He said he saw nothing “remotely close” to what was alleged and that it would be “completely out of character.”

In his second season at Illinois after three years at Texas Tech, Shannon is second in the Big Ten in scoring at 21.7 points per game. Only Purdue’s Zach Edey is averaging more.
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Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas, contributed to this report.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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