CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- University of Charleston President Ed Welch and UC head basketball coach Mark Downey said they had no serious misgivings about bringing three basketball players now accused of robbery to Charleston, despite a criminal charge being filed against one of the players in 2011.
Robbie Dreher, 22, and Quincy Washington, 22, both members of the UC basketball team, were each charged with two counts of first-degree robbery for an alleged attack on Andrew Rude and Patrick Morrison that took place at about 2:40 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Laidley Street and Virginia Street East, said Lt. Steve Cooper of the Charleston Police Department.
Terrell Lipkins, 20, of Canton, Ohio, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and four counts of access device fraud in connection to the same attack. Police believe Lipkins, Dreher and Washington stole cash and a credit card from Rude and Morrison. Cooper said Lipkins used the stolen credit card at a 7-Eleven convenience store after the robbery.
Wednesday morning, all three players were removed from the team's roster on the UC website.
"The conduct which [the three suspects] are alleged to have committed is deplorable and violates university policies and expectations. They have been evicted from the residence halls, removed from the university's basketball team, and further campus disciplinary actions are in progress. We will continue to cooperate fully with authorities as they continue their investigation," UC President Ed Welch said in a statement on Wednesday.
This isn't the first time Dreher has been in trouble. In April 2011, a female student at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., accused Dreher and a fellow Winthrop teammate of sexually assaulting her when she rejected their advances, according to The Charlotte Observer newspaper.
Dreher was charged with third-degree criminal sexual contact. Dreher pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree assault and battery in August 2012 and was sentenced to a year of probation.
Given the charge, Welch said he asked Downey to conduct an extra background check on the recruit. He asked UC's athletic director to check Dreher out, as well. "We did all the due diligence that is reasonable to do," Welch said.
"We really do investigate who we bring in," Downey added. "We'll probably work even harder now to find out what kind of kids these recruits are.
"I would like to apologize to everyone involved, and to our fans," he said.
Welch said there were "no indications whatsoever" that Lipkins and Washington would cause trouble, and that he knew of no incidents of any of the men getting into trouble on campus.
Dreher is from Greenville, S.C., and Washington is from Florence, S.C., according to the UC basketball team's website. Bail on each was set at $200,000.
Rude, 58, suffered a fractured wrist and a cut on his scalp in the alleged attack on Sunday. Morrison, 35, reportedly suffered minor injuries.
Cooper said video surveillance from the 7-Eleven led police to Lipkins. The video footage allegedly shows Lipkins driving up to the convenience store.
Cooper said police tracked down Lipkins' car at UC from the video footage, and said the vehicle contained the clothes Lipkins was wearing the night of the robbery. He said Lipkins came outside while police were towing the car and asked why police were taking the vehicle.
Cooper said Lipkins was then questioned, and told police he had been involved in the robbery. Lipkins also implicated Dreher and Washington, Cooper said.
There have been a string of robberies in downtown Charleston in recent weeks, including an attack Friday that left a Boone County man with severe head injuries. John Dolin, 37, of Peytona, was found unconscious and badly beaten at about 6:30 a.m. He is recovering at CAMC General Hospital, but his memory remained hazy on Tuesday, police said.
Cooper said the UC basketball players were "persons of interest" in the attack on Dolin and in the robbery of Oliver Gipson, 37, on April 14.
Lipkins was UC's leading scorer last season. He was being held in the South Central Regional Jail Wednesday morning, with bail set at $25,000.
Cooper said all three players attended UC on sports scholarships. He said it would be unfortunate if the three young men with apparently bright futures ahead of them became mixed up in a serious crime.
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