‘NOT RESPONSIBLE’

The alleged assault that took place at a house on Alemeda and Fifth Avenue early on the morning of Nov. 16 involving four football players and a group of students has taken a turn after an investigation by the Office of Student Life at Youngstown State University.Tailback James Cravens, cornerback Averick Walker and free safety Adam House said the charge of assault against another student filed by 19-year-old student and victim Kyle Long was dropped after each stated they were found not responsible after their hearing with the School Disciplinary Board.”All charges were dropped, and we were all found not responsible for the assault on Alameda,” Cravens said. “We want for the public to understand we are not guilty.”Associate Director of Student Life Dr. Martin Manning was in charge of administering the investigation and said he was not able to declare what the final verdict was due to FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act), but did say this case was a difficult one to close due to the circumstances and severity. “The hearing went over three hours time . when it was all said and done probably three hours and 10 minutes. That’s a pretty substantial hearing,” Manning said.The police report taken by the Youngstown Police Department said Long had been allegedly punched in the right eye and choked after making a joke about strong safety Nick Gooden. The report also read that Long said the other suspects held him down, which led to the point in time when the other three suspects became involved. According to the report, Long said “he went to the hospital because his lip was split open, which required five stitches, he had bruises on his head, fractured nose and contusions on his right eye.”However, Cravens said in a telephone interview with The Jambar that this information was false, and that he was just there trying to break up the fight.”The only thing I tried to do was break the fight up before it got bigger. I could not do it alone,” Cravens said. “I guess Kyle thought I was trying to fight him. I really don’t know what he was thinking. Once I realized I could not break up the fight, I got in my car and left. Days later his friends convinced him to file charges.”Long said Cravens was involved with the fight even before Long had initially been knocked to the ground.”I think [Craven’s accusation is] bulls— because I remember seeing him landing punches to my face before I hit the ground,” Long said.Long said after the alleged assault, he did file charges, but wasn’t able to find out what had been decided. He said that he heard through an acquaintance that the players were put on probation.”I left school and went back home for Christmas vacation before we could find out anymore about what happened. We had a meeting with the school board to say what happened and also what the school would do about the incident,” Long said. “We heard from a few people that the worst thing that happened was probation.”Manning said when charges are filed, it usually means those charges are enforced against the suspects the majority of the time.”Reality is, most of the cases that get referred to this office probably after we’ve gone through that review process, I’d say nine out of 10 of them are going to have charges filed. Most people just don’t randomly file a report of a student that really hasn’t been involved in anything,” Manning said. “Just because it gets reported into this office doesn’t mean that we just jump to the conclusion that the student’s responsible, because we have an obligation to maintain a fair and objective process.”Long said during the hearing, the police officer he spoke with at the time of the alleged assault attempted to explain to the board that Long was unable to get up from the ground because “eight people were on him.” Cravens, House and Walker all said Long’s allegations are false.Since the alleged assault, Cravens said there is still a football future for him at YSU.”I can only speak for myself on the football issue, [but] as far as football goes, I’m fine,” Cravens said.The same cannot be said for Walker, who told The Jambar via telephone he was told after the incident, he would no longer have a spot available on the Penguin football roster. Walker also said he had been in some trouble with the team prior to alleged incident with Long.”It was embarrassing that I had to go through that when I didn’t do anything,” Walker said. “I’m not even on the football team anymore . I had been getting in some trouble but I didn’t do that.”Editor’s note: The Jambar has attempted to contact suspect Gooden as well for comment, but a response has not yet been received. Youngstown Police Department Detective Sergeant Rick Spotleson, lead detective for the case, also could not be reached for comment.

Share this: