Former University of Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus will go on trial for two counts of felony sexual assault Tuesday through Friday of this week. Dane County Judge William Hanrahan will preside over the case.
Early the morning of April 22, video footage shows Cephus and a teammate, Danny Davis, entering Cephus’ apartment with two women, who may have been intoxicated. One woman reported Cephus raped her, though Cephus continues to claim their sexual activities were consensual.
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According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the first victim reported she’d met Cephus the day before the incident, and along with her friend, the other victim, went to the Double U (a campus bar) to hang out with him. She reported feeling highly intoxicated, with the other victim in a similar state when they ended up at Cephus’ apartment around 12:30 a.m. She claims Cephus assaulted both of them, tried to coerce them into having sex with each other and that both he and Davis took inappropriate pictures of them. She reported being too intoxicated to resist.
Cephus received two charges on Aug. 20: one count of felony second-degree sexual assault and one count of felony third-degree sexual assault. Cephus pleaded not guilty. The trial, while originally scheduled for February 2019, ended up being delayed to provide enough time for the attorneys involved to read over 50 pages of phone records.
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After suspension from the football team, Cephus sued UW to prevent his own expulsion under Title IX. But he dropped the case in March, and UW still expelled him for misconduct.
The defense will attempt to make the case that the women were not intoxicated, using surveillance footage and cell phone evidence, according to pretrial motions and reporting from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But already, they’ve lost a dispute over the validity of existing cell phone evidence.
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The defense claimed the prosecutors provided only texts, social media messages and pictures supporting their own argument, instead of other messages with the potential to support the defense’s argument. Instead of searching the women’s phones, the judge accepted the messages the women offered up. The defense requested all cell phone activity records from the 24 hour period around the alleged assault, but the judge denied their request as an obstruction of privacy and decency.
Some key witnesses who will likely be called to testify include a rape crisis center volunteer who worked with one of the victims and Davis, Cephus’ former teammate and the other person involved in the incident. Neither victim brought charges against Davis, though he received a two game suspension during the fall 2018 season.
The trial begins 9 a.m. on Tuesday. For live updates, follow The Badger Herald on Twitter, @BadgerHerald.