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Terps guard Dez Wells, Xavier settle lawsuit over expulsion

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Maryland guard Dez Wells has settled his lawsuit against his former school, Xavier University, over his expulsion following allegations of sexual assault two summers ago.

According to a docket entry filed Thursday in the Southern District Court of Ohio, Federal Judge S. Arthur Spiegel dismissed the suit, citing that the situation has been resolved “in a matter satisfactory to the parties.” Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Reached by telephone, Wells’s attorney, New York City-based lawyer Peter Ginsberg, declined comment.

The lawsuit, filed last August, several months before the start of the 2013-14 men’s basketball season and Wells’s junior season with the Terrapins, alleged that Xavier rushed its judiciary process and conducted a flawed investigation after a classmate accused Wells of sexual assault on June 7, 2012. Initially, Wells sought financial damages and an apology from Xavier and its president, Father Michael Graham.

According to the lawsuit, the accuser declined to press charges with Cincinnati police. Later, Hamilton (Ohio) County prosecutor Joseph Deters determined after an investigation that the allegations were unworthy of prosecution. Nonetheless, Xavier expelled Wells for violating its student code of conduct and he ultimately transferred to Maryland, where he has blossomed into the unquestioned team leader and star player.

“For someone who was accused of something that he did not do, and faced the fear of prosecution … [it] really affects a person internally,” Ginsberg said in late August after news of the lawsuit broke.

After a lengthy process that dragged on through the winter season, Xavier eventually filed a motion to dismiss the claims in Wells’s lawsuit last November while both sides awaited a discovery conference to schedule depositions. Those depositions never took place, though Xavier did begin the process of assembling documents for discovery. This March, Spiegel ruled against Xavier’s motion for dismissal but did toss out Wells’s attempt to have his expulsion vacated, citing an expiring statute of limitations.

Wells shrugged off the possibility of distraction during preseason interviews, though the lawsuit flew under the radar during the season, when the Terps finished 17-15 and Wells led them in scoring at 14.9 points per game. Aside from the occasional chant of “No means no” from opposing fans, the lawsuit did not follow Wells like Coach Mark Turgeon had predicted.

“I know it’s going to come up a lot,” Turgeon said in October. “Every TV game it’s going to come up. It’s not going to interfere with us. I think Dez is a strong-minded person enough to not let it affect.”

Now, with the lawsuit reaching its official end, Wells will turn his attention towards his senior season, with realistic aspirations of reaching the NBA.