AUSTIN (KXAN) — The first court hearing for University of Texas football player Montrel Meander, accused of sex assault, has been reset. Meander’s court date has been reset for Oct. 16. He did not appear in court Tuesday.
Two UT football players are accused of sex assault. Attorneys for Meander and Kendall Sanders had said they would not appear in court Tuesday.
Meander and Sanders are both accused of sex assault in a case stemming from a June 21 incident at UT’s San Jacinto Hall dormitory in June. Sanders is also accused of improper photography. Neither has been indicted.
Both players were dismissed from the football team in July. Sanders, a wide receiver from Athens, Texas, was listed as a junior on the team’s online roster. Meander, also a wide receiver, was listed as a redshirt freshman from Amarillo.
According to court documents, Meander gave the victim a ride from Sixth Street to San Jacinto Hall, where they had consensual sex. The victim told officers someone knocked on the door, and Meander let him in. That person was later identified as Kendall Sanders.
The victim told police Meander left the room and that Sanders began forcibly having sex with her against her wishes. She said Meander returned and joined Sanders in assaulting her. The woman told investigators she asked to be able to leave and Sanders told her, “you could leave after I am done.”
During the alleged assault, the woman remembered seeing a camera flash. She told officers she suspected one of the men took a picture of her. Police say they found a picture of the victim on Sanders phone. As a result, Sanders faces an additional charge of improper photography.
Officers noted Meander and Sanders began texting each other “trying to get their story straight” during their interviews with investigators.
Sanders was anticipated to be a starter for the upcoming 2014 season. He scored a touchdown against Kansas State in 2013. That year he logged 37 receptions for 361 yards earning him third place among the team’s receivers.
He was previously suspended from the team’s opening game against New Mexico State in 2013 following an arrest on DWI charges, which were dismissed in May 2013.
Coach Strong responds to rape allegations
UT Football Head Coach Charlie Strong emphasized the importance of treating women with respect when he took over the program. He released a statement July 24, announcing both players had been suspended from the team.
“We’ve been monitoring and addressing the situation with Kendall (Sanders) and Montrel (Meander) since it was brought to our attention. It’s been made clear to everyone on our team that treating women with respect is one of our core values, and I’m extremely disappointed that two young men in our program have been accused of not doing that. With the recent charges against them, they have been suspended indefinitely from our football team and will no longer participate in any team functions.”
The two were also kicked out of their dorms at San Jacinto Hall following their arrest.
UT Austin president Bill Powers issued the following statement following the players’ arrest.
The university campus must be an environment free from all sexual assault and violence.
At The University of Texas at Austin, student safety is our top priority and we are involved with the national efforts to prevent a culture of sexual violence from taking root on campuses. We educate all of our students about preventing sexual assault and vigorously investigate all allegations so we can take the appropriate action.
In response to recent allegations of sexual violence on campus, UT police has filed criminal charges against two student athletes, the football team has suspended them and an internal student judicial review is under way. I commend Chief Carter for conducting a fair and thorough investigation and Coach Strong for making a decision that is in the best interest of his team and the university.
We encourage everyone to respect both the criminal and administrative review processes as they continue.
UTPD chief David Carter told reporters in late July that sexual assault crimes are under-reported on college campuses. It’s a problem that’s gained the attention of the White House, which set up online resource for survivors of sexual assault.