Rape charges against Wingate may be dropped

February 22, 1991|By Norris West | Norris West,Evening Sun Staff

The Howard County state's attorney says he will decide next week whether to drop rape charges against former Dunbar and San Antonio Spurs player David Wingate, since the woman who made the complaint has told a judge she does not want to proceed with the case.

State's Attorney William Hymes said rape victims drop charges "very infrequently." But he said there was no evidence the woman was coerced into backing out of the case and said he was concerned about how a high-profile trial might affect her emotionally.

He will give the court his decision at a hearing next Thursday.

The woman, a Columbia resident, made her request to drop the case before Circuit Court Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. during a motions hearing yesterday.

Hymes said he could proceed with a trial without her consent and subpoena her to court to testify against Wingate, 27.

Wingate, a member of Georgetown's NCAA championship team in 1984, was a backup guard with San Antonio when he was arrested last September. He was in the middle of contract negotiations with the Spurs when he was arrested, but the team said it would not re-sign him until the rape charges were settled.

Earlier this month, prosecutors in Bexar County, Texas, dropped other rape charges against Wingate. He had been accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman there last June. Texas prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

In the Howard County case, the woman, who was 17 at the time of the alleged incident, told police last September that Wingate forced himself on her in a bedroom at his apartment after she had gotten drunk and had thrown up three times. She said she had gone to the apartment with her sister and two of Wingate's friends for a party.

Wingate has told police that he had sex with the girl, but said she consented. His trial was scheduled for Aug. 5.

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