An 18-year-old woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by three University of Minnesota basketball players in a Madison hotel room testified today that she was held and repeatedly assaulted by the trio over a period of about four hours early in the morning of Jan. 24.
The Madison woman testified during a closed portion of the Dane County Circuit Court preliminary hearing. Her testimony was read back to reporters later in open court.
Judge Robert Pekowsky said there was "probable cause that each of the three defendants did commit a felony" and thus bound them over for trial.
The players remained free on bail. No date was set for trial, but Assistant District Attorney Judith Hawley said she wanted it within 90 days.
The woman testified that one of the players, Kevin Smith, sat beside her as she lay curled up on a corner of the bed after the assault "and asked me, 'What's your name? Where do you live? I want to see you again. I'm going to see you again.' "
Smith, 21, of Lansing, Mich., is charged with one count each of first-degree and second-degree sexual assault. Mitchell Lee, 20, of Carol City, Fla., is charged with one count of first-degree sexual and two counts of second-degree sexual assault. George Williams Jr., 19, of Oakland, is charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault.
First-degree sexual assault carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Second-degree carries a maximum $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison.
The woman said she met Lee and Smith at a house party early in the morning of Jan. 24. She said she talked and danced with Smith, but mostly ignored Lee, who she said made "sexual comments" to her at the party. Smith "was acting nice," she said.
She said she left the party in a car with Lee and Smith and another couple after Smith told her the party was moving to the hotel where the basketball team was staying.
The team had defeated Wisconsin in a game the previous evening.
They arrived at the hotel at about 2 a.m. and all five people rode an elevator to the third floor, she said. As Lee opened the door to a room, the woman testified, she noticed the other couple was walking away down the hall.
Within 30 seconds of entering the room with Lee and Smith, she said, Lee began sexually assaulting her.
Williams entered the room later and joined the others in assaulting her, the woman testified.
Pekowsky permitted family members and friends of the players to attend the preliminary hearing, which he closed to reporters and the public at the request of the victim.