WBIR reported on Monday morning that Tennessee senior linebacker A.J. Johnson has been named in a rape and sexual assault investigation stemming from an incident on campus over the weekend. Here is a snippet of their report:
“Sources have told WBIR 10News that Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson is a suspect in a rape and sexual assault case. Knoxville police said the incident happened at the Woodlands Apartment Complex at Cherokee Woods Way early Sunday morning…Police confirmed they have not charged Johnson and the other man at this time”
The entire article is available to be read here: A.J. Johnson Named in Sexual Assault Investigation.
The Tennessean has named cornerback Michael Williams as the second player allegedly under investigation.
As of early Monday afternoon, Johnson has not been listed on arrest records for Knox County.
The University of Tennessee announced at 4:00pm that A.J. Johnson and Mike Williams have been suspended from all team-related activities until further notice. Both have been named as suspects in the ongoing sexual assault investigation.
The Knoxville News Sentinel is now reporting that the decision on whether or not Johnson and Williams will be officially charged in this investigation will be made by the District Attorney’s office.
““We don’t anticipate charges today,” Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said. “Once we finish our investigation, we’ll turn it over to the district attorney.”
DeBusk said the office of Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen will decide if evidence and statements collected by police warrant the issuance of an arrest document or if a grand jury will determine if charges should be filed.”
The full article and report is available here: DA Will Decide on Charges.
“I’m aware of the alleged incident,” Butch Jones said at his regularly-scheduled press conference on Monday afternoon “We are in the process of gathering information. “Once we have all the information, we will act quickly and decisively.”
Jones said he wouldn’t make further comment on the situation, but he did answer a few questions surrounding it:
On if players under investigation can practice:
“No. Every situation is different in of itself, so I say no, but I’m still going to gather the information and the thing I want to do is be right rather than fast. We’ll continue to develop information and based on what we have at that particular time, we’ll determine whether or not they will practice, but if there’s anything of it, then they won’t practice. I think we’ve proven since we’ve been here that we’re always going to act accordingly and we’re going to act swiftly.”
On confirming if the investigation does involve football team members:
On how Jakob Johnson performed against Missouri (editor’s note: Jakob Johnson is a potential backup if A.J. Johnson can’t play)
“I’ll tell you those game repetitions were extremely beneficial for Jakob. And they were beneficial for a lot of individuals. Kendal Vickers needed those game opportunities, Cortez McDowell – even though he’s had those opportunities on special teams, he hasn’t been afford those opportunities at the linebacker position. So having them getting those live game opportunities was critical. Jakob did some good things, now with the young players, we were mis-aligned a number of times. That’s a point of emphasis. We didn’t have great cap control, which playing great defense is all about gap responsibility. But now we have it on video again, it’s on thing to correct it off practice, now we can correct it off game video and that will be critical going forward.”
On how he keep this from being a distraction:
“Every situation that occurs, just like in life, I teach it as a teaching opportunity – a teaching moment. We spend an inordinate amount of time in that in our Vol for Life Program, our character education program, all that. We’ll discuss it, but it will be business as usual. I’m not into speculation, but we talk about instances all the time. It will just be another point of contention, a point of emphasis, which it is all the time in our football program. We have a lot on the line. We’re representing the state of Tennessee, Vol Nation, the city of Knoxville, our student body, our fan base, our boosters, our alumni. We have a lot of positive momentum and energy going right now. We can’t let that derail us.”
On if he can confirm how many players are under investigation:
“I’m not going to comment any more on it”