Okla. St. hoops player faces trial on rape charges

Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams will stand trial on rape and other felony charges alleging that he inappropriately touched two female students, a judge ruled Monday.

Payne County Special Judge Michael Stano ruled after a preliminary hearing that there was enough evidence for Williams to face one count of sexual battery and four counts of rape by instrumentation. Two women have said the 21-year-old Williams reached into their pants against their will during a December party.

Williams, who has been suspended indefinitely from the basketball team, has pleaded not guilty. He remains free on bond.

Prosecutors initially charged Williams with fewer counts, but Stano allowed the fourth count of rape by instrumentation to be added Monday. The judge set a trial date of May 13.

"We believe we have met our burden of proof that a crime has been committed," said Assistant District Attorney Jill Tontz.

Before Stano ruled on the evidence presented in court last week, defense attorney Willie Baker sought to discredit the testimony of the two women. He said they selected Williams only after looking at a photograph of the OSU basketball team to identify him, a process Baker called "tainted from the start."

Baker also referenced several witnesses who he said would be able to testify that nothing inappropriate happened at that house, that they heard no "yelling, or crying." Baker said neither of the women reported any cuts, scrapes, bruises or needed medical attention at a hospital after the alleged incident took place.

Stano said he had no doubt that Williams "wants to have his story heard," but noted that it was a preliminary hearing, not a trial. Baker had argued for the chance to call witnesses during Monday's preliminary hearing to back up Williams' statements, but that was tossed out.

Williams, dressed in a gray dress shirt and slacks, sat quietly next to his attorney during the hearing.

In testimony last week, the first woman to testify alleged that Williams groped her on her way into a cellar area where a party was being held at a Stillwater house. She said he then fondled her outside the home after she approached him to ask if he'd taken her driver's license and $10 out of her back pocket during their first run-in.

A second woman claimed that Williams reached into her pants inside the house, again while she was pressed up against a fence outside and then a third time while she was being held up against a parked truck. She claimed that Williams forcibly moved her from the fence to the truck.

The second woman who testified said a group of about four men she believed to be Oklahoma State basketball players gathered around her and rubbed their hands on her body before Williams approached and stuck his hand down her pants and inside her underwear.

She said she was able to break free by falling onto the floor and crawling and then running toward the door, but Williams then grabbed her from behind and fondled her again.

No other Oklahoma State basketball players have been charged. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford suspended Williams after he was charged Feb. 7.