Ex-Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. faces felony rape trial

Former Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. will stand trial on first-degree felony rape and felony sexual aggravated battery charges June 10, a Kansas judge ruled at his preliminary hearing Friday. Shannon was arraigned and pleaded not guilty before a judge ruled there was probable cause for trial to proceed in his case.

Last year, a woman accused Shannon of sexually penetrating her with his fingers at a bar in Lawrence, Kansas, on Sept. 9. The woman found Shannon’s picture through a Google search and told local police he was the assailant. Shannon was arrested and charged with “unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly [engaging] in sexual intercourse with a person … who did not consent to the sexual intercourse under circumstances when she was overcome by force or fear, a severity level 1 person felony.”

In December, he was suspended indefinitely by Illinois and missed six games, but he was granted a temporary restraining order by a federal judge and returned to the team Jan. 21. He played the rest of the season and led the team to the Elite Eight. In April, the university dropped its investigation of Shannon.

Shannon, per his attorneys, is expected to complete his trial — if the June 10 date remains — before the NBA draft, June 26-27. Before his legal case, he was a projected first-round pick.

Before Shannon’s preliminary hearing, his attorneys requested that the DNA evidence in the case not be admissible in the trial.

In a statement on Friday, Shannon’s legal team said the judge’s ruling has no bearing on his guilt or innocence in the case.

“Our legal team is neither shocked nor disappointed by the outcome of this event,” Mark Sutter, one of Shannon’s attorneys, said in a statement. “A preliminary hearing is a procedural process that merely speaks to the threshold of evidence and whether a question of fact may exist for a jury. It has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Those issues will be decided at trial, and we continue to look forward to our day in court.”


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