Jury trial of Illinois basketball player accused of raping woman at Lawrence bar set to begin Tuesday

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Attorneys selected 15 jurors on Monday to hear the case against an Illinois basketball player accused of raping an 18-year-old woman at a local bar in September.

Chicago native and Illini shooting guard Terrence Shannon Jr., 23, is facing a charge of rape for engaging in intercourse with a person who did not consent or who was overcome by force or fear, or, in the alternative, one count of aggravated sexual battery for touching a person over the age of 16 who did not consent under circumstances when the victim was overcome by force or fear.

Eight men and seven women, including two people of color, will decide the case against Shannon, who is Black. The woman who accused him is white. Twelve of the jurors will ultimately deliberate the case.

According to court documents, the incident occurred just after midnight Sept. 9 in the Martini Room of the Jayhawk Cafe (aka the Hawk), 1340 Ohio St. The woman told police she had been “groped and raped” by a man she later identified as Shannon, according to an affidavit detailing her interview with Lawrence police Detective Josh Leitner.

The woman told police that she and a friend had gone to the bar after the KU-Illinois football game that took place the evening of Sept. 8. In her interview, the woman said she and a friend were in the Martini Room, a basement area that sometimes operates as a kind of VIP room for KU athletes.

The woman said she and her friend were leaving the Martini Room when a man she didn’t know beckoned her. The affidavit indicates that the woman and her friend made their way back through the crowd to the man, who reportedly immediately grabbed the woman’s buttocks to pull her closer to him. He then allegedly “nearly immediately placed his finger under her underwear and inserted it into her vagina.”

The woman said the penetration lasted from five to 10 seconds, and the entire incident took no more than 30 seconds. The woman said she was not restrained in any way but was dumbfounded and unable to pull away from the man because of the tightly packed room.

She said she didn’t confront the man at the time and left the bar with her friend shortly thereafter.

The woman told police that Shannon was in the Martini Room with KU athletes whom she recognized. She said she identified Shannon through social media and an internet search. Court records state that phone records show the woman used her phone between 2:15 and 3:45 a.m. to search the KU football and basketball rosters, and then the Illinois basketball roster.

After identifying Shannon on the Illini basketball roster, the woman told police she found an Instagram post showing a photo of Shannon at the KU football game on Sept. 8. He was identifiable because parts of his hair were dyed different colors, according to the woman.

The woman called the Lawrence Police Department to report the incident at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 9.

Andrea Albright/Lawrence Times Terrence Edward Shannon Jr., walks out of the courtroom with attorney Tricia Bath during jury selection June 10, 2024.

On Friday, defense attorney Tricia Bath of Leawood-based Bath & Edmonds P.A. made a successful motion to include information during the trial about a third-party incident they assert has relevance in the case.

The defense is expected to discuss details surrounding allegations against former KU basketball player Arterio Morris, who was accused of raping a woman in his McCarthy Hall room late last summer. The Douglas County District Attorney’s office dropped those charges in April citing insufficient evidence. However, an investigation into that case revealed an accusation against Morris for allegedly sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman at The Hawk less than two weeks before the woman in Shannon’s case came forward.

No charges were filed against Morris in connection with the alleged incident at The Hawk. He was released from KU’s basketball program after being charged in the case that was later dropped.  

Three KU basketball players are listed as potential witnesses in Shannon’s case. Senior center Hunter Dickinson, senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr., and sophomore guard Elmarko Jackson are listed among police, investigators, and health professionals that may be called to testify. Being listed as a witness does not necessarily mean that someone was an eyewitness to an incident, but rather that law enforcement believes they may have information related to an alleged crime.

Shannon was arrested in December but remains out of custody after posting a $50,000 surety bond.

ESPN reported that Shannon missed six games before attorneys fought and won to have him reinstated to the Illini team in January. The team eventually played in the NCAA tournament. ESPN ranked Shannon among the top NBA prospects.

Douglas County Senior Assistant District Attorney Ricardo Leal and Assistant DA Samantha Foster took over the case on behalf of the prosecution within the past week because of scheduling issues with another trial. The defense team includes Bath and Chicago-based Mark Sutter of the Sutter Law Group.

Before dismissing the jury for the day, Douglas County District Judge Amy Hanley admonished jurors to abstain from all forms of media, explaining that higher profile cases including those involving athletes may have further reaching interest than most.

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless they are convicted.

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Andrea Albright (she/her), reporter, can be reached at aalbright (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

Related coverage:

Andrea Albright/Lawrence Times

KBI says DNA in rape case against Illinois basketball player was inconclusive; defense expert says it excludes defendant

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The jury trial of a University of Illinois basketball player accused of raping a woman in a Lawrence bar brought testimony from two of KU’s star players today, along with an analysis of the state’s physical evidence — or lack thereof — in the case.

Jury trial of Illinois basketball player accused of raping woman at Lawrence bar set to begin Tuesday

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Attorneys selected 15 jurors on Monday to hear the case against an Illinois basketball player accused of raping an 18-year-old woman at a local bar in September.

Resources for survivors

If you have experienced sexual violence or trauma, please seek the help that’s right for you. There are many options available, and you don’t have to file a police report if you don’t want to.

Get 24/7 help in Lawrence: The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center
  • Call 785-843-8985 to reach an advocate, 24/7. (Consider saving that number in your phone in case you or someone you know ever needs it.)
  • After an assault: What are my options? Check this page for detailed information about
    • talking to an advocate,
    • going to the hospital,
    • making a police report,
    • and/or talking to a counselor or therapist.
  • On campus? Check this page for specific resources for the University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University, Baker University, Ottawa University and more.
Resources on KU’s campus:
  • Contact the CARE (Campus Assistance, Resource, and Education) Coordinator: Students can make an appointment by email, care@ku.edu, or by calling 785-864-9255. It’s free, confidential and voluntary to talk with the CARE Coordinator. All genders welcome. Read more here.
  • Find more KU campus resources at this link. Specific information about sexual assault exams can be found here.
  • Direct message KU CARE Sisters on Instagram. You don’t need to be affiliated with Greek Life to reach out and/or receive assistance. (Note: CARE Sisters provide peer support and education, but this is not a 24/7 service like others listed here.)
Domestic violence situations: The Willow Domestic Violence Center
  • Reach the Willow for help 24/7 at 785-843-3333.
  • Find more resources on the Willow’s website at this link.
More resources
  • StrongHearts Native Helpline: Call 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) for 24/7 safe, confidential and anonymous domestic and sexual violence support for Native Americans and Alaska Natives that is culturally appropriate.
  • National hotline: Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), text “START” to 88788, and/or visit thehotline.org to chat and learn more, 24/7.

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