Second New Mexico football player arrested in student's rape

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 30, 2014 2:11 PM

By Joseph J. Kolb

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - A second University of New Mexico football player has been arrested on suspicion of raping and kidnapping a fellow student earlier this month, officials said on Wednesday.

SaQwan Edwards, 21, surrendered on Tuesday night shortly after a warrant was issued for his arrest on two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping, according to Lieutenant Tim Stump of the University of New Mexico Police Department.

The arrest comes just over a week after another football player with the university, 20-year-old Crusoe Gongbay, was arrested on the same charges in the case. A third man, a former student at the university, was also arrested last week in the case.

Both Edwards, a senior at the university, and Gongbay, a junior, were swiftly suspended from the team as a result of the rape allegations.

The case came to light after a female student contacted a dormitory official earlier this month to say she had been raped. The official contacted police, and the woman was given a medical examination at an off-campus facility.

According to a criminal complaint, the two football players and the former student spotted the woman outside a house party on April 13, where the former student "put his arms around (her) and stated, "No, she is coming with us."

The group drove off together, and the complaint says the two football players took turns raping her. The former student, identified by police as Ryan Ruff, then took the woman to the university campus where she said he put a "gun to her head and told her she would have sex with him as well," according to the complaint.

Edwards, a starting cornerback who played 11 games for the University of New Mexico in 2013, was being held without bond pending an arraignment on Wednesday. Ruff was arrested last week on similar charges.

The accusations come as universities in Missouri, Florida and Montana have been criticized in the last year for their handling of rape claims against football players.

Stump said the charges against the three suspects would be brought before a grand jury. A date has not been scheduled.

Despite moving quickly to indefinitely suspend the players, head football coach Bob Davies expressed remorse to local media.

"In some ways I feel responsible, in some ways I feel angry, in some ways I feel sad," he said. "We understand the severity of it. All of our players understand the severity."

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Adler)