Terrapins' Garrison Is Charged With Assault and a Sex Offense

By Allison Klein and Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 14, 2006

University of Maryland basketball player Travis Garrison turned himself in to Prince George's County police yesterday afternoon and was charged with assault and a sex offense stemming from an incident at a popular College Park bar.

Garrison is accused of grabbing a woman's buttocks three times and, when she protested, slapping her face with an open hand, splitting open her lip, according to police charging documents.

The incident occurred Oct. 27 at the Cornerstone Grill & Loft on Baltimore Avenue. Since that time, police have been investigating the incident before determining to charge Garrison, a senior forward.

Garrison, 21, was processed yesterday and released on his own recognizance, said Capt. Andy Ellis, a Prince George's County police spokesman. He is charged with second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense, both misdemeanors.

The Maryland athletic department issued a statement last night saying, in part: "The athletic department will review the facts of the case and make a determination on any possible discipline in accordance with the University's Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. No other comment will be forthcoming from athletics department personnel regarding this issue, until all the facts of the case are reviewed."

Garrison, who practiced yesterday following his appearance before Prince George's police, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine for the assault charge. For the sex offense, he faces up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Maryland athletic department officials were not aware of the specifics of the incident, including that Garrison was the player involved, until late this week, according to a source within the department.

Garrison, 6 feet 8 and 240 pounds, has played in each of the Terps' 17 games this season, starting in the last 12.

He had never before met the woman, according to police documents. The victim, who is 23 years old and a Maryland graduate, did not know Garrison's name or that he was a basketball player. It wasn't until after she contacted police that the investigation revealed he played for the Terps.

According to the police report, the victim went to the Cornerstone bar and encountered Garrison there.

She was "at the bar with several acquaintances when the defendant grabbed her buttocks," the police documents said.

"She told the defendant to stop but he proceeded to grab her buttocks two more times. The victim was forced to push the defendant away at which time he struck her in the face with his hand causing her lip to bleed," the documents said.

"The identity of the defendant is known because he is a mutual friend of the group in which both were socializing."

One of the witnesses listed in the documents was Chris McCray, a senior teammate of Garrison's.

Four days after the incident involving Garrison, three football players participated in a bar fight at the Cornerstone Grill & Loft, an event that became public in the fall. Though no charges have been filed in connection to that incident, the three football players were each suspended for one game last season and received an official letter of probation from the athletic department.

Six other football players at the bar who were not involved in the fight were also disciplined for either violating the team's curfew or for breaking a team rule against drinking alcohol during the season, or both. Criminal charges were not filed in connection with the actions of any of those players.

A native of Suitland, Garrison was a coveted recruit who was named to the McDonald's All-American team following his senior season at DeMatha High. Through three seasons at Maryland, he has started 61 games and averaged 7.4 points per game. Garrison, who did not start the first five games this season, is averaging 9.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Several calls to the Garrisons' Suitland residence went unanswered.

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