Illinois basketball player Terrence Shannon Jr. found not guilty in rape trial

Former Illinois star and NBA hopeful Terrence Shannon Jr. has been found not guilty.

Shannon Jr. was acquitted in his rape trial where he was accused of committing sexual assault on Sept. 9, in Lawrence, Kansas. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that Shannon was in Lawrence that day to watch a football game between Illinois and the University of Kansas.

The State of Kansas found Shannon Jr. not guilty after a four-day trial, acquitting him of the charges against him of rape and aggravated sexual battery.

The trial included testimony from Kevin McCullar Jr., a former teammate of Shannon Jr. at Texas Tech and basketball player at Kansas, as well as testimony from forensic scientists.

Shannon's lawyers called the allegations a "blind accusation" and questioned the motives of the woman. They also criticized the prosecutors in Douglas County for a lack of evidence and a Lawrence detective for the thoroughness of his investigation.

The woman told police she was at the bar when a man, whom she later identified as Shannon, grabbed her buttocks and reached under her skirt to touch her. The woman claimed that the bar was crowded, so she was unable to move.

Shannon testified that a woman close to him had been raped, and he would never treat another woman the same way. 

Shannon Jr. had specifically been charged with rape and an alternative count of sexual battery. Shannon was suspended for six games during the Illini's season before a federal judge ruled his civil rights had been violated and reinstated him.

Shannon Jr. participated in the 2024 NBA Combine in Chicago, where he made his first public statements after being accused. 

"I’m looking forward to my day in court," Shannon Jr. said in May.

Statement from Illinois Head Coach Brad Underwood:

"I am thrilled for Terrence with the news of today’s verdict. Under six months of intense scrutiny, Terrence has shown tremendous composure, maturity, and focus. He can now put this behind him and move forward with his life. I, along with everyone in our Illinois Basketball program, will continue to offer Terrence our full support as he looks to fulfill his NBA dreams."

Statement from Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman:

"All of us who know and care about Terrence breathed a tremendous sigh of relief with the announcement of today’s not guilty verdict. This has been a very serious and unfortunate situation for all parties involved, and I am happy for Terrence that it has been resolved and his name has been cleared. We look forward to cheering for him as he begins his NBA journey."

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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