University of Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus was charged Monday with second- and third-degree sexual assault of two intoxicated women who said he sexually assaulted both of them, and said that Cephus and his roommate, teammate Danny Davis, laughed and took photos of the women, according to a criminal complaint.
Cephus, a 20-year-old junior who was expected to be the program’s top receiver this season, announced Saturday he was taking a leave of absence from the team because he anticipated charges being filed by the Dane County District Attorney’s Office.
UW athletic director Barry Alvarez announced Monday after the charges were filed that Cephus has been suspended from the team for violating the Student-Athlete Discipline Policy. The suspension bars him from team practices and games.
Cephus will appear in court on Thursday.
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, asked Monday whether Davis, another of the team’s top wide receivers, might also face charges connected to the incident, said, “I don’t think I can answer that right now.”
UW had no comment regarding Davis.
According to the complaint, Cephus told investigators that he and one of the women had sex, but “it was all good. She was all into it,” the complaint states. He said he also had sex with the other woman. He at first denied taking any photos, but then said one was taken but was quickly deleted.
The third-degree sexual assault charge carries up to 10 years of combined prison and extended supervision. The second-degree sexual assault charge carries a 40-year maximum.
Cephus tweeted on Saturday he’s been “wrongfully accused of unlawful conduct” and “is innocent of any allegations associated with this consensual relationship.”
According to the complaint:
Police met one of the women at Meriter Hospital about 4:30 a.m. on April 22, and when the initial officer entered her room, he noticed that it smelled heavily of alcohol. The woman was barely able to lift her head and never opened her eyes during her interview, Officer Eric McCarthy noted. At one point she had to stop to throw up.
The woman identified Cephus as the person who she said had assaulted her, at his apartment on Spring Street.
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The woman said that she had been introduced to Cephus by a mutual friend the day before, and he asked if she and her friends wanted to meet up later. He said he was going to be at the Double U, a campus-area bar. After that, he said, they could hang out at his apartment.
She told police that after getting a text message from Cephus about 11:30 p.m., she and her friends went to the Double U on 620 University Ave. She said that the second woman was already very drunk at the Double U when she introduced her to Cephus, who “seemed like he was a gentleman.” She said he was sober, and refused some of her drink because he was driving.
The woman also told police that she was “dying,” meaning very drunk. She said she and the other woman were equally drunk when Cephus drove them to his apartment.
The woman said she wasn’t sure how it happened, but she remembered that both she and her friend were naked and that Cephus was assaulting them. She said she couldn’t move, and “literally thought I was going in and out of consciousness.”
Cephus also tried to get the two women to have sex with one another, the woman told police.
At one point she woke up on the floor and saw Cephus and Davis taking pictures of her and laughing as she struggled to get up. She said she told Cephus how to delete photos.
The woman showed Madison police Detective Julie Johnson text messages that she sent to a friend while in Cephus’ bed, and two of them read, “Raped.”
The woman said that the other woman was so out of it that she looked “possessed,” and that her “eyes rolled back.” She said the other woman was hard to understand when she spoke.
The second woman, interviewed by police, said she was drinking at the Double U and was so intoxicated she doesn’t remember whether she was actually introduced to Cephus. She said she has only a fleeting memory of being in Cephus’ car, then sprinting out of his apartment around 2:30 a.m.
“I don’t remember getting home,” she told Johnson. “I don’t remember walking into my apartment. I don’t remember anything else.”
She said the next day she talked on the phone with the first woman, while she was at Meriter Hospital, and the first woman insisted that she have a rape kit done. The woman told police she did not remember having sex with anyone, though.
“I was shocked because I have no memory of it,” she told police. “I was grossed out. We don’t know this guy. I was so very confused. I was thinking how could this happen? I know I would never consent to have sex with someone I didn’t know.”
Davis, who was at the Double U while the two women were there, said he remembered that both were very drunk and that one of them sat on the floor in the middle of the bar and had to be convinced to get up.
Under the Student-Athlete Discipline Policy, during his suspension Cephus will remain on official squad lists and may continue to use the sports medicine facility, the academic support center and the weight training room.