Saturday, February 7, 2004

St. John's disciplines players over incident

College basketball notebook

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - A woman who said she had been gang-raped by St. John's basketball players confessed she made up the story after the players refused to pay her $1,000 for sex, according to court documents Friday.

Sherri Ann Urbanek-Bach, 38, of New York, was arraigned on charges of prostitution, attempted extortion and filing fictitious reports. Urbanek-Bach, who did not have an attorney at the brief hearing, was ordered held on $20,000 bond in the Allegheny County Jail.

Urbanek-Bach met the players at a strip club after the team lost a game against Pittsburgh and then went back to a hotel, police said. Doubts about Urbanek-Bach's story were raised after one of the players gave investigators his cell phone, which he had used to videotape some of the encounter, police said.

Urbanek-Bach said that after having sex, the players refused to pay her $1,000 as agreed to earlier, so she called police and told them she was raped by five of them, according to an affidavit.

Though no criminal charges were filed against the players, St. John's disciplined the men "for violation of team rules and behavior inconsistent with St. John's mission and values."

Grady Reynolds, a senior, was expelled from the Roman Catholic school; leading scorer Elijah Ingram, a sophomore, and senior Abraham Keita were permanently suspended from the team ,and both could be expelled.

Freshman Lamont Hamilton and senior Mohamed Diakite were suspended, and freshman Tyler Jones faces discipline that has not been determined.

The players went to the club in McKeesport after St. John's lost to No. 4 Pittsburgh 71-51 Wednesday. Urbanek-Bach told police she met the players at 2:30 a.m. at the strip club.

SNEAKERS VS. CANCER: Not just the players will be wearing sneakers when Michigan State and Ohio State meet today.

To bring awareness to the Coaches vs. Cancer charity program, Spartans coach Tom Izzo and the Buckeyes' Jim O'Brien and their coaching staffs will wear sneakers during their game, which will be nationally televised on ESPN.

Today has been designated as National Coaches vs. Cancer Awareness Day by the sponsoring organization in conjunction with the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

BAYLOR: A judge in Waco, Texas, threw out most of the wrongful-death lawsuit filed against Baylor by the father of slain basketball player Patrick Dennehy Jr. Patrick Dennehy Sr. sought unspecified damages in his lawsuit, which claims that his son became the target of "violent threats" because he intended to expose wrongdoing in the program.

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