Former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones pl - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones pleads not guilty to charges of rape, sodomy

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Chris Jones appeared in court Thursday morning. Chris Jones appeared in court Thursday morning.
By WDRB News Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Former Louisville basketball player Chris Jones pleaded not guilty Thursday on charges of rape and sodomy and, unlike two co-defendants, was allowed to be released on home incarceration.

While prosecutors asked for a high bond, saying Jones was not from Louisville and was a flight risk, defense attorneys for Jones pointed out that he was been in contact "daily" with University of Louisville police and turned himself in.

University of Louisville Police Lt. Col. Kenny Brown confirmed in press conference that Jones had cooperated with police and provided a statement. He said the crime was reported to police around 10:30am on Sunday.

District Court Judge Sheila Collins released Jones on home incarceration in lieu of a $25,000 bond. The judge ordered Jones to have no contact with the victims, one of whom is a student at U of L. The other was taking online classes at Western Kentucky University.

Jones, who did not speak during his short hearing, was taken away in handcuffs to be booked. 

Defense attorney Rob Eggert asked Collins to ensure that University of Louisville police save videotapes from the parking lot and hallway of the building where the alleged crimes occurred, saying it was "exculpatory" for Jones. 

University officials noted the alleged incident occurred at the Cardinal Towne Apartment Complex, which is not operated by U of L. 

Eggert and attorney Scott C. Cox declined to offer specific details about the allegations, but Cox told reporters Jones was "innocent. He has been falsely accused and he is going to be found not guilty."

Brown confirmed that U of L police are "looking at the video at this time," though he declined to talk about what it showed.

Cox asked that the community keep the "presumption of innocence in mind because he deserves it. And when the facts of this case come out, people will agree with us about that."

Jones has withdrawn from U of L to focus on the case and is currently living in a hotel, Cox said. "He'll have a place to stay here soon," Cox added.

UofL Dean of Students Michael Mardis, however, said Jones is still registered as a student and is allowed on campus.

Jones turned himself in Thursday morning after Jefferson District Judge Katie King signed an arrest warrant on Wednesday night.

He is charged with two counts of rape and two counts of sodomy. According to the warrants, Jones raped and sodomized a woman on Sunday (Feb. 22) and she was able to identify Jones "because she recognized him as a University of Louisville basketball player" and he told her his name. That woman was examined at the university, one warrant says.

A second warrant says Jones, along with two other people, forced a woman to have intercourse and oral sex. She also identified Jones as a U of L player, according to the warrant. She was taken to University Hospital, where she was treated.

In the warrants, university police indicated Jones could be a "flight risk." 

U of L Det. John Tarter took out the criminal complaints against Jones, according to the warrants. Tarter also filed complaints on Wednesday against Jalen D. Tilford and Tyvon Walker, both of whom allegedly raped a woman on Sunday. The complaints filed against those two men indicate three people were involved in the alleged rape but don't specifically mention Jones.

Tilford and Walker both pleaded not guilty. Bond was set at $75,000 for Walker and $100,000 for Tilford.


Cox said Jones was likely given home incarceration because he has cooperated with police and turned himself in. He said Tilford and Walker did not.

"He has not received any special treatment," Cox said. "I'm impressed with what a grown man he is, how tough of a kid he is,"

The Jefferson County Attorney's office declined to comment.

Jones, 23, was dismissed from U of L's team on Sunday. Asked about his basketball career, Cox said Jones is "focused 100 percent on this case. We don't have time to worry about sports right now."

Head Coach Rick Pitino suspended Jones for Louisville's game at Syracuse on Feb. 18. Jones was reinstated after the game because he “took care of what the coaches wanted,” Pitino told WDRB's Rick Bozich in a text message. The matter, Pitino said, concerned “discipline on campus.”

Jones returned from the one-game suspension and scored 17 points in a 55-53 home win against Miami last Saturday. On Sunday afternoon, U of L announced Jones had been dismissed from the team; the university hasn't given a reason for the move.

On Monday, in response to a request under the Kentucky Open Records Act, U of L police released a Feb. 17 “run report” alleging Jones threatened in a text message to “smack” a woman with whom he was having a relationship.

According to the U of L police report, a university student claimed she went to Jones' apartment early on Feb. 17 and waited for him, but he didn't return. The woman, whose name was redacted on the report, claimed she left around 3 a.m. and acknowledged “messing up” his room.

Later that day, around 2 p.m., Jones allegedly texted the woman that he would “smack TF out of” her (sic), the report says.

The woman did not want Jones prosecuted, instead saying in the report that she “preferred that someone talk to him about his behavior.” U of L's Dean of Students was to be notified of the incident, according to the report.

The university's response to the records request also indicated that there is one additional “record” involving Jones but did not release it, citing an open investigation by the school's Department of Public Safety.

On Thursday morning, U of L athletic director Kenny Klein issued a statement related to the suspension and eventual dismissal of Jones:

"On Feb. 17 while at a team dinner, Coach Rick Pitino was informed of a text message sent by Chris Jones to another individual. Chris was removed from the dinner table, immediately suspended from the team. After the matter was addressed within the university and Chris surrendered his cell phone, he was permitted to return to the team on Feb. 19 with strict internal disciplinary measures attached, among which included a curfew. It was discovered shortly after noon on Feb. 22 that Chris had violated a curfew and there were other accusations, without knowing specifics. At that time, Chris was immediately dismissed from the team.

While Chris is no longer a member of our team, we understand that the allegations are very serious. While we cannot comment on this ongoing investigation, we certainly expect our student-athletes to uphold certain standards, including their treatment of others. We have great respect for the legal process and our university procedures and we will cooperate as requested with this matter."

Brown said Thursday the texting incident involving Jones is separate from the alleged rape and sodomy incident, noting the victims are different as well.

This story will be updated throughout the day.

WDRB.com reporters Toni Konz, Marcus Green and Jason Riley contributed to this story.

Previous:

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U of L POLICE: Chris Jones threatened to 'smack' female student

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CRAWFORD | Jones dismissed from Louisville basketball team

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