MADISON (WKOW) – UW football player Quintez Cephus was bound over for trial at a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Dane County Circuit Court.
Prosecutors say Cephus sexually assaulted two women at his campus apartment on Spring Street in the early morning of April 22. Authorities say Cephus had recently become acquainted with the women, who had been drinking at a downtown bar prior to going with Cephus and fellow Badger football player Danny Davis to Cephus’ apartment.
A motion to dismiss the second-degree sexual assault charge was denied.
Prosecutors say both women were intoxicated, with one victim objecting to Cephus’ sex acts, and the other unaware of the sexual contact. Court records state Davis photographed one of the nude victims.
But as part of a court motion asking for the second-degree sex crime to be dismissed, Cephus’ attorney Stephen Meyer maintained surveillance camera photos from Cephus’ apartment and submitted to the court dispute the victim’s level of insobriety.
The photos show what Meyer says are the women respectively standing outside Cephus’ apartment, and scaling stairs in his building’s lobby. Meyer maintains there’s no sign of intoxicated instability.
But Judge Jill Karofsky says Davis described the women to police as appearing intoxicated. Karofsky denied the motion to dismiss the crime, which requires a victim to be too impaired to consent to sex.
During testimony in the preliminary hearing, Madison Police Detective Julie Johnson described one victim’s recounting of the sexual experience.
“She said she was crying” Johnson testified.
Johnson also said the woman sent text messages to a friend during the encounter with Cephus, and quoted one of those texts. “The word, ‘raped,’ in quotes,” says Johnson.
Cephus’ attorney Stephen Meyer was stopped by the judge from eliciting an answer from Johnson when he asked her about her questioning of Cephus, but said Cephus told the detective what happened “was a consensual threesome.”
Even though prosecutors relied on Davis’ information to help establish an element of the more serious crime, and Karofsky cited the information in addressing the surveillance video, Cephus’ attorney Kathleen Stilling tells 27 News she doubts Cephus’ teammate will ultimately take the witness stand against him. “I’m not really anticipating that,” Stilling says. “That’s only one statement he made.”
The criminal complaint states one of the victims reported Davis photographed one of the victims nude. Assistant Dane County District Attorney William Brown deferred questions on whether Davis faces the possibility of being criminally charged himself to District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. Ozanne has yet to comment to 27 News.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Cephus spoke unequivocally about where he stands.
“I’m innocent,” Cephus says. “I know the truth, they know the truth, and I look forward to clearing my name, and fight it for who I am.”
Both sides indicate resolving this case short of trial with some sort of plea agreement appears unlikely.
“Every point, every legal issue will be argued and pursued until this guy walks home free,” Meyer says.
Cephus has been suspended from the football team indefinitely, while Davis has a two-game suspension. Davis faces no criminal charges at this time.