Hearing Scheduled for Former BYU Football Player

Hearing Scheduled for Former BYU Football Player

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A judge on Tuesday scheduled a Jan. 3 hearing for a former Brigham Young University football player who is trying to withdraw a guilty plea to reduced charges in an alleged rape.

Karland Bennett pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and dealing in harmful material to a minor, charges which could carry a 20-year sentence. Two of his former teammates -- B.J. Mathis and Ibrahim Rashada -- were acquitted of charges in the rape case in September.

Defense attorney Greg Skordas filed a motion to withdraw the plea, which included an agreement for Bennett to testify in court. Skordas said Bennett shouldn't be punished for a crime a jury found could not be proved.

In his testimony at the trial of Mathis and Rashada, Bennett acknowledged agreeing with the other players to lie to police and BYU honor code investigators. But Bennett also contended that the sex acts at his apartment that night appeared to be consensual.

Judge Samuel McVey at a hearing Tuesday scheduled arguments on the motion for Jan. 3.

Initially four players were charged with aggravated sexual assault after a 17-year-old girl accused them of raping her at Bennett's apartment in August 2004.

Only Mathis and Rashada were tried, and they were found not guilty. Bennett pleaded guilty to reduced charges and another former player's case was moved to juvenile court.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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