Details of alleged rape are in report

Woman, 19, tells police Neal attacked her first inside La Salle dormitory

July 13, 2004|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

A 19-year-old woman allegedly raped by former Calvert Hall star Gary Neal and a La Salle University basketball teammate told police she was so drunk she was throwing up into a sink when Neal forced himself on her, according to a police investigation report.

In the report, the woman says Neal was the first to rape her in a dormitory at the Philadelphia school at about 1 a.m on June 24. She told investigators Michael Cleaves joined in, saying at one point: "I want to get some of that."

Neal, a 6-foot-4 guard who grew up in Aberdeen, was the Explorers' leading scorer last season as a sophomore. Cleaves is a 5-10 guard from Paterson, N.J., who was a junior last season. The two are no longer enrolled, according to La Salle, which said last week it is aiding law enforcement officials "in any way possible."

The pair were arraigned over the weekend and both posted bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 20 to determine if there is enough evidence to hold them for trial. Each faces two counts of rape as well as charges of assault and related offenses.

The police report, received yesterday by the clerk of quarter sessions in Philadelphia, contains the account of the woman, who was a counselor at a La Salle-sponsored basketball camp when the alleged rape occurred.

The report said Neal and Cleaves were identified by witnesses who introduced the pair to the victim that evening and saw the men with her in the dormitory where Neal and Cleaves lived. The men also have been linked to the scene by DNA testing.

The woman said she went into the dormitory with Neal to get some pretzels because she was feeling sick. As she began vomiting, Neal approached her from behind and began undressing her, the report said. It said he then raped her and "she attempted to resist but was unable to move."

At some point, the report said, Cleaves climbed onto the kitchen counter in an effort to obtain oral sex. Then, the report said, the two men switched places. She said semen ended up on her shirt.

The woman told police the players placed her on a couch afterward "and the next thing she remembers was waking up on the same couch," partially undressed.

The woman told police "she did not consent to any sexual encounters," according to the report. The Sun does not identify anyone claiming to be the victim of a sexual assault.

Police said Neal is represented by attorney Loraine Bright, who has a small private practice and teaches paralegal courses at Harford Community College. Calls made yesterday to her office at the college were not returned, and her home number is unpublished.

Cleaves' lawyer, Michael I. McDermott of Philadelphia, did not return calls yesterday.

Neal and Cleaves turned themselves in to authorities last week.

The charges, coupled with an allegation of an earlier rape, threaten to unravel the La Salle basketball program. Men's coach Billy Hahn, a former Maryland assistant, and women's coach John Miller have been placed on administrative leave with pay while the school looks into an April 2003 incident.

The university is trying to determine whether the coaches discouraged a 20-year-old female student from reporting an alleged rape.

Security on Campus, a nonprofit, Philadelphia-area advocacy group, is asking for a federal investigation into the allegations that an alleged victim was told to keep quiet about a sexual assault.

The school has said it is conducting an investigation into the 2003 incident, as well as the latest one. Brother Michael J. McGinniss, the university's president, on Friday called the latest charges, if proved, "completely counter to the values and ethics that La Salle demands from its students, faculty and staff."

Yesterday, Dean of Students Joseph J. Cicala said in an open letter to students that the university was reaching out to its summer students and athletes and offering "personal support and/or supportive resources." The statement said the school was focused "on efforts to keep our community a safe one."

La Salle, founded in 1863, enrolls about 3,300 full-time day students.

Neal played two seasons at Aberdeen High before transferring to Calvert Hall. At La Salle, he was the Atlantic 10 Conference's Rookie of the Year as a freshman. He appeared on the cover of last season's media guide.

His whereabouts yesterday were uncertain. His father, Gordon O. Neal Sr. of Aberdeen, did not return messages from a reporter left at his home yesterday.

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