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    Ex-Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. acquitted in rape case

    By Christian Arnold,


    Former Illini star Terrence Shannon Jr. was found not guilty of rape and sexual assault on Thursday in a case involving allegations over an incident that happened near the University of Kansas campus in September.

    Shannon, who was arrested in December , was accused by an 18-year-old woman of grabbing her and sexually touching her without her consent at a bar in the early hours of Sept. 9 following a football game in Lawrence, Kansas between Illinois and the University of Kansas.

    A Douglas County jury took 90 minutes to deliberate Thursday before unanimously reaching a not guilty verdict on rape or an alternative count of aggravated sexual battery.
    Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. demonstrates his wingspan while testifying during his rape trial Thursday June 13, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. AP

    Shannon did not address reporters after the verdict, according to the Chicago Tribune , but his attorney Tricia Beth said it was a “travesty” that justice took so long to be “achieved” while praising the jury for ultimately coming to the “correct” verdict.

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    Attorney Mark Sutter said the public owed Shannon an apology.
    Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr., center, gets a hug after being found not guilty after his sexual assault trial. AP

    “I think he took a lot of weight, took a lot of ridicule from the court of public opinion. But now that the jury of his peers have spoken, I think everyone owes him an apology,” he said.

    Shannon, a high-level NBA prospect, was suspended by the Illini over the charges and December arrest, but that was overturned by a federal judge who ruled that the basketball player’s civil rights had been violated.

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    The basketball player had been in Kansas to attend the football game with several Kansas basketball players and they ended up at the bar — the Martini Room — on the night of Sept. 8.
    Illinois coach Brad Underwood hugs Terrence Shannon Jr. as he is removed from the game late in the second half of their Elite Eight loss to UConn in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Getty Images

    In testimony, Shannon said he had only had a few drinks that night and remembered everything had occurred while also saying he only learned of the allegations weeks later.

    The woman had told police that a man she later identified as Shannon had grabbed her buttocks and reached under her skirt.


    “I was definitely uncomfortable,” the alleged victim testified during the trial. “I don’t know why I didn’t [walk away]. But I wish I did.”
    University of Illinois basketball standout Terrence Shannon Jr. refers to a photo of the Martini Room, a bar in the Jayhawk Cafe, while testifying during his trial Thursday June 13, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. AP

    Shannon took the stand Thursday and denied the allegations that had been made against him.

    “I never touched, grabbed, pulled over. … That did not happen,” Shannon said on the stand.

    Shannon is a potential first-round pick in the NBA draft, which takes place on June 26-27.

    He averaged 23 points for Illinois this past season as the team reached the Elite Eight before falling to national champion Connecticut.

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