South Dakota Football Players Suspended, 2 Charged In Sex Assault Investigation
Two University of South Dakota football players accused of sexual assault burst into a bedroom where another teammate was having consensual sex with a woman and attacked her, court documents allege.
The Oct. 22 attack happened at an off-campus residence that suspects Danny Rambo, 20, and Dale Williamson, 21, share with teammate Adam Harris, Vermillion Police Lt. Crystal Brady said in an affidavit.
The woman had been at the residence with two female friends watching a movie with the players. The friends eventually left. While the woman and Harris were having consensual sex, “Danny and Dale entered the bedroom without the victim’s knowledge,” and proceeded to assault her, Brady said. The woman told Brady no one had been drinking alcohol.
The university suspended all three players for last Saturday’s game against Southern Illinois for unspecified violations of team rules. Rambo was charged criminally Monday with felony second-degree rape, which carries a maximum punishment of 50 years in prison. Williamson was charged with felony second-degree attempted rape, which has a maximum punishment of 25 years behind bars.
The two turned themselves in without incident Monday. They made initial court appearances Tuesday but did not enter pleas, according to the Clay County Clerk of Court’s Office. They are due back in court Nov. 7. In the meantime, Rambo’s bond remains at $25,000 and Williamson’s at $20,000. They did not have listed attorneys, and did not immediately respond to messages left for them at the jail seeking comment.
Harris was not charged. Clay County State’s Attorney Alexis Tracy would not say whether he still might face charges, but she did say “the entire situation” is still under investigation. A home telephone listing for Harris couldn’t be found.
The alleged attack was reported by someone other than the woman, according to Brady.
“The victim was very reluctant about having an investigation started due to the backlash she believed she would suffer from the football team, student population, and the community,” Brady wrote.
South Dakota is one of the top teams in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. The Coyotes have won seven of eight games this season and are ranked No. 6 in the country.
Rambo is a junior defensive back from Texarkana, Texas, who was an honorable mention all-conference pick in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2016, according to the team’s website. Williamson, from Donalsonville, Georgia, is a sophomore reserve defensive back. Harris, a senior cornerback from Clearwater, Florida, is a three-year starter and a team co-captain.
Rambo, Williamson and Harris remain suspended from the team indefinitely, according to university spokeswoman Tena Haraldson. For now they are free to attend classes because they are not accused of violating any on-campus residential rules, she said, though it is possible their status could change as a result of a campus disciplinary review. It’s unclear how long that process might take.
“I think there’s a strong feeling that the legal process needs to work its way through,” Haraldson said. “That’s going to take a while.”
University President James W. Abbott and Athletics Director David Herbster both issued statements saying the school is taking the accusations seriously and assisting police.