COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri running back Derrick Washington was accused of sexual assault by a former tutor in June and could still face criminal charges related to the incident that may be behind his indefinite suspension.
Boone County court records show the woman, a Missouri graduate, obtained a protection order against Washington on June 22. She accused the senior captain and starting tailback of entering her off-campus apartment three days earlier in the middle of the night and sexually assaulting her.
The complaint accuses Washington, 21, of entering her bedroom "unwilling and unprovoked." The Associated Press generally does not identify people alleging they have been sexually assaulted.
"I am pressing criminal charges," she wrote. "I fear physical retaliation."
However, a July hearing was delayed at the woman's request and the case was dropped late last month after both Washington and the alleged victim failed to show up for the rescheduled hearing. A prosecutor is still investigating and Washington's family has hired an attorney.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel announced Washington's suspension for undisclosed reasons on Thursday. Washington has led the Tigers in rushing yards each of the past two years.
Missouri athletics director Mike Alden told the Columbia Missourian that he has been aware of the accusations against Washington "for a few weeks" but would not confirm that the suspension was connected to the assault claim.
Washington and his attorney, Chris Slusher, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a Wednesday night Twitter post, Washington quoted a Biblical passage: "God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect," said Washington, a former high school star in Kansas City.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert said the Tigers will move on without their top rusher. Sophomore Kendial Lawrence is expected to start when Missouri opens the season against Illinois next weekend in St. Louis.
Should Washington be charged with a crime, his suspension could extend beyond the Sept. 4 game. School policy says that athletes charged with a felony cannot return to the field until the case is resolved.
Washington's suspension is the latest setback in a difficult preseason for Missouri.
Earlier this week, linebacker Will Ebner — the team's third-leading tackler last season and a probable starter before he was slowed by injuries — was arrested by a sheriff's deputy on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Assistant football coach Bruce Walker was arrested by campus police in early August for possible drunken-driving violations after a bus trip by Missouri coaches and their wives to the Lake of the Ozarks resort community. Neither has been charged with a crime.
On Thursday, senior cornerback Munir Prince was taken to a hospital by ambulance after a collision with a teammate on a punt return. He was listed in intensive care on Thursday night after an initial diagnosis of transient quadriplegia, a temporary loss of sensation and movement in the arms and legs.