Oklahoma State’s Williams faces rape charges

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma State suspended Darrell Williams on Monday after he was charged with four felony counts alleging he inappropriately touched two women...

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STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State suspended starting forward Darrell Williams on Monday after he was charged with four felony counts alleging he inappropriately touched two women without their consent.

Williams, 21, made a brief court appearance after he was charged with one count of sexual battery and three counts of rape by instrumentation. Several players, including fellow starters Keiton Page and Jean-Paul Olukemi, came to the courthouse and sat next to Williams in a packed courtroom or waited outside for his hearing to finish.

“It goes without saying that we take the charges very seriously,” coach Travis Ford said in a statement. “Darrell will not travel or play while the legal issues are addressed.”

Williams did not stop to speak with reporters at the Payne County Courthouse before leaving through a back door. His attorney, Willie Baker, declined to comment.

Williams was not required to enter a plea, and his initial court appearance was continued until March 7. He was freed on $5,000 bond.

According to court documents, Williams is accused of holding two women against their will while he reached into their pants at an off-campus party Dec. 12 that lasted into the following morning in Stillwater. Two of the rape by instrumentation counts involve the same woman.

Assistant District Attorney Tom Lee said two other men faced related charges. Yayi Janneh, 22, was named in the police affidavits containing Williams’ accusations and faced two felony counts of sexual battery. Zach Thomason was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

No other basketball players were charged, although the police affidavits allege several attended the party and at one point “surrounded” one of the women. Six players were on prosecutors’ list of potential witnesses.

Williams, a junior, was averaging 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in his first season at Oklahoma State after transferring in from Midland College in Texas. He had started 12 of 23 games, including the last six, and was named the Big 12’s rookie of the week Monday after he scored a career-high 18 points and had 12 rebounds in the Cowboys’ 81-75 win against Oklahoma on Saturday.

Assistant coach Chris Ferguson said he was unaware of the charges against Williams when he substituted for Ford on the Big 12 conference call Monday morning.

“We’d be one down, so that would hurt anybody. Somebody else would just have to step up, and that’s why basketball is a team game,” Ferguson said. “We’re going to find contributions from other people if that indeed is the case.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.