|Oklahoma State LB Collins pleads guilty to aggravated sexual assault|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 07 November 2007 13:43|
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -Oklahoma State linebacker Chris Collins Jr. could avoid serving time in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl after a Texas jury recommend Wednesday he receive five years' probation.|
Collins, of Texarkana, Texas, had pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday. He can stay out of prison if he meets the requirements of the probation.
District Judge Leon F. Pesek Jr. set formal sentencing for Dec. 10. Pesek ordered Collins to undergo a psychological exam as part of a pre-sentence investigation, Bowie County Assistant District Attorney Kristian Young said.
Young said Pesek will determine the length of Collins' probation, which could be as long as 10 years. Pesek also must decide if Collins will have to register as a sex offender.
Collins, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound starter for the Cowboys, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in New Boston, Texas, after a jury was seated for his trial, Bowie County District Attorney Bobby Lockhart said in a statement. Lockhart said prosecutors made no plea deal with Collins.
Collins' attorney, Paul Hoover of Texarkana, did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Oklahoma State officials did not comment on Collins' status with the football team.
``We are still gathering the details on this case and we are not in a position to make a final decision at this time,'' university spokesman Gary Shutt said in a statement. ``We can say this: Chris Collins has been a model student and athlete since arriving at Oklahoma State University.''
Collins, now 20, was one of four men charged following an after-prom party in May 2004, when he was 17. An affidavit indicated the girl said she could recall Collins being on top of her and kissing her neck, and contains a statement from one of the other men that he saw Collins and the girl having sexual relations.
During the punishment phase of Collins' trial, jurors listened to evidence from prosecutors and heard from Collins and four character witnesses - two of his former high school coaches, his mother and a pastor, said Lisa McDermott, a spokeswoman for Lockhart's office.
Collins testified the girl had told him she was 16, which the girl has denied.
Aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony in Texas, with a possible prison sentence ranging from 5 to 99 years or life in prison, McDermott said. However, because Collins is a first-time offender, he is eligible for probation.
Of the other three defendants in the case, only one, Jabari Jackson, has been through a trial, and that resulted in a hung jury. Jackson will be retried in March, McDermott said. The other two defendants are brothers and will be tried in February, she said.
Collins, who hadn't played since his junior year of high school, was the Cowboys' leading tackler through six games last year before an injury forced him to miss the second half of the season.
He also missed five games this season before returning Saturday to record five tackles in a 38-35 loss to No. 14 Texas. He has 31 tackles in five games this season.
Collins had originally given an oral commitment to Texas, but Texas coach Mack Brown pulled the scholarship offer after Collins was arrested in 2004.
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