SANTA ROSA, Calif. (BCN) — Three former Santa Rosa Growlers minor league hockey players have all pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a woman in a Reno motel room in February.
The defendants, Dominic Jones, 34, Josiah Nikkel, 30, and Moses Matthews, 33, will be tried together and have a jury trial slated to begin on June 27, according to court records. The players were in Nevada for the first game of the season when they were arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman whom one of them met at a sports bar, according to police reports.
The woman said she had consensual sex with one of the players, Matthews, but then Jones and Nikkel entered the room, undressed, and sexually assaulted her while Matthews held her down. Matthews is also accused of taking pictures of the alleged assault and unlawfully disseminating them via text message.
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When news of the arrest broke, the players were kicked off the Growlers. Team captain Blake Johnson issued a statement describing the allegations as “shocking and deeply concerning,” and said that his club does not take charges of sexual assault lightly. The Growlers organization has also expressed regret that the three players went on to play that first game against the Reno Ice Raiders, unaware of their arrest at that time.
The Ice Raiders announced on Feb. 10 that they “suffer a sense of betrayal” that they had to play against the accused and were suspending all interactions with the Growlers team, according to an official statement.
All three players maintained that the sex was consensual, according to the police report. The alleged victim told police that she “lay there crying, unable to move or say no.” Jones was contacted for this story and declined to comment. Matthews and Nikkel were also contacted but did not respond. The attorney for the three was also contacted and did not respond.
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