3 SHU athletes accused of sex assault conspiracy

(AP) - Three lacrosse players for a Catholicuniversity in New England have been charged with conspiring tosexually assault a female student in a dorm room.A

BRIDGEPORT - (AP) - Three lacrosse players for a Catholicuniversity in New England have been charged with conspiring tosexually assault a female student in a dorm room.

A lawyer for one of the men said any accusations that a sexualassault occurred in the Sacred Heart University dorm were a grossexaggeration of alcohol-fueled hijinks.

Wayne Keeney said his client, 19-year-old Timothy Sanders ofAshburn, Va., was having consensual sex with an 18-year-old womanwhen two 18-year-old teammates, Nicholas Travers of Smithtown,N.Y., and Zachari Triner of Marshfield, Mass., sneaked in as aprank.

Neither Travers nor Triner had sexual contact with the woman,Keeney said. He said that alcohol was involved and that the womandidn't know the two men had entered the room.

All three men were charged Sunday with conspiracy to commitfirst-degree sexual assault, according to a Connecticut court Website. Sanders also is charged with unlawful restraint. Police andprosecutors didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

"The police report itself is so confusing," Keeney said. "Thewhole thing just doesn't ring true."

Attorneys for Travers and Triner declined to comment Tuesday.Lacrosse coach Tom Mariano didn't return a message.

Sacred Heart University released a statement saying that privacylaws prohibit commenting on specific students but that schoolpolicy calls for automatic suspensions when such accusations aremade.

Keeney said all three have been suspended from school and thelacrosse team.

"I can appreciate that this young woman was put in anembarrassing set of circumstances through some sophomoric,college-boy antics, but there's no indication from what I can seeor discern so far that there was any sexual assault there," Keeneysaid.

The team opens its 2010 season Feb. 12 against Massachusetts.

Photo courtesy of Newsday. Photo shows Smithtown East's Nick Travers, right, playing defense in a game against Comsewogue last year.

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