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Derrick Washington sentenced to five years in prison

Monday, November 14, 2011 | 3:45 p.m. CST; updated 1:48 p.m. CST, Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Former Missouri running back Derrick Washington receives a five-year sentence by Judge Kevin Crane on Monday at the Boone County Courthouse for a sexual assault charge. He could be eligible for probation after serving 120 days. A jury found Washington guilty of deviate sexual assault Sept. 21. He was accused of assaulting a 24-year-old MU graduate who was his former tutor. The charge was one of two criminal allegations that led to Washington's dismissal from the football team in 2010.

*Editor's note: We have clarified Washington's sentence and explained the term "shock" probation.

COLUMBIA — Former Missouri football player Derrick Washington was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for deviate sexual assault.

Washington's mother broke down in tears and left the courtroom with his father. Her sobs could be heard inside the courtroom. Washington stared straight ahead as he was sentenced and then bowed his head.

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The victim was not present in court for the sentencing, and her victim impact statement was not read.

Washington, former captain and starting running back for Missouri's football team, was charged in June 2010 with deviate sexual assault, which is sexual assault without intercourse. Later that month, the victim was granted an order of protection against Washington, which forbade him from contact with her, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The victim testified that the night of the incident she went out to a bar with several friends. After returning home late, she said she spoke with her roommate, who told her that Washington was going to come by. After the victim had fallen asleep, she testified that Washington came into her room, lay in bed with her and digitally penetrated her.

The roommate testified that Washington had come to their Campus View apartment and had left her roommate's bedroom for only a few minutes.

Washington was suspended indefinitely from the football team by head coach Gary Pinkel in late August 2010.

Both the victim and her roommate testified at the jury trial in September. Washington was found guilty during the same month.  

At Monday's sentencing, Washington's attorney, Christopher Slusher, filed a motion for a new trial on the grounds that testimony about the victim's virginity as it related to her consent should not have been allowed during the jury trial.

"A victim's sexual history isn't relevant to consent," Slusher argued before Boone County Circuit Judge Kevin Crane. 

Slusher disputed Assistant Prosecutor Andrea Hayes' contention that Washington had chosen the victim because she was a virgin — testimony Slusher had tried to prevent during the jury trial.

"There was no evidence that he wanted a virgin," Slusher said.

But Crane denied the motion for a new trial.

Slusher then asked the court to consider 120-day "shock" probation for Washington instead of the prosecution's suggestion of the maximum sentence for the crime, seven years in prison. *This means that Washington will serve 120 days in prison, after which Crane will decide whether Washington should be released on probation or required to serve the rest of his term.

"The defendant has yet to take responsibility for his actions," Hayes said when discussing the reasoning behind the severity of the state's request.

Washington was taken into custody immediately after the sentencing.


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