High school sports star ordered to trial on rape charge

AP News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2017 1:58 PM

SCOTT TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — A two-sport star at a suburban Pittsburgh high school has been ordered to stand trial on rape and other charges in an alleged assault on a 17-year-old girl.

An Allegheny County district judge ruled Friday that prosecutors had enough evidence to send the case against Ross Wilkerson to county court for trial on charges of rape, sexual assault, unlawful restraint, aggravated indecent assault and simple assault. Charges of unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors were dismissed.

Prosecutors allege that Wilkerson, 18, sent the girl a Snapchat message asking her to go to a pool house behind his home on March 1, saying he had a gift for her, and then sexually assaulted her.

The girl testified during the preliminary hearing that Wilkerson had bloodshot eyes and talked about how he and a friend, who was on a couch in the next room, had been drinking. She said she repeatedly told him "no," but he overpowered her, and the other youth didn't answer when she called for him to help.

Defense attorneys questioned why she waited a couple of days to see a doctor and report the assault to police. Attorney Michele Santicola said after the hearing that some of her statements in court weren't consistent with what she had said before.

"This did not happen the way it's being portrayed," Santicola said, adding that the ordeal had been "devastating" for Wilkerson and his family.

The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.

Wilkerson was the leading scorer for Chartiers Valley High School's basketball team when he was arrested earlier this month on rape, aggravated indecent assault and other charges. He also stars on the school's baseball team and had planned to attend John Carroll University to play that sport.

Santicola said Wilkerson has been allowed to return to school and play baseball following his March 7 arrest and release on bail, but he did not play with the Chartiers Valley basketball team during the playoffs.