Terrence Shannon files a restraining order against Illinois
Terrence Shannon Jr. filed a temporary restraining order on Monday requiring his school to “immediately reinstate” the Illinois star who was suspended indefinitely from all team activities last month after his arrest on rape charges, his attorney, Mark Sutter, told ESPN. The charge stems from an alleged rape in September.
Shannon’s lawsuit, filed by Sutter and his legal team in Sixth Judicial Circuit Court in Champaign, lists the Illinois Board of Trustees and school President Timothy Killen as defendants.
After an arrest warrant was issued for Shannon in Douglas County, Kansas, last month, he presented himself to authorities and was briefly jailed before posting bail and returning to Champaign.
According to the initial complaint, Shannon was accused of “unlawfully, criminally, and knowingly having sexual intercourse with a person…who did not consent to the sexual intercourse under circumstances overcome by force or fear, a severity level 1.” person’s felony.”
The lawsuit for the temporary restraining order, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, alleges that Shannon was not given due process before being removed from the team. He is scheduled to be arraigned on January 18, but the trial in this case will not begin until June, after the college basketball season ends.
“Does the presumption of innocence really mean anything? That question is at the heart of this case,” the lawsuit said. “Illinois promised Shannon it would abide by this presumption, but in practice Illinois has not followed through by suspending him and destroying his career as if he had already been convicted. Shannon maintains his innocence, for the record. Sexual assault is a horrific crime, and Shannon is terrified to say his name.” “In the same sentence with such a crime, he in no way seeks to diminish that it is a real problem.”
Illinois officials said they are reviewing Shannon’s lawsuit but will defend the school’s disciplinary process.
“We are aware that legal counsel for Terrence Shannon Jr. has filed a request for injunctive relief from his suspension from the men’s basketball program,” Illinois associate counsel Robin Kaler said in a statement. “We will review the file and advocate for student-athlete misconduct procedures, which allow us to respond quickly to allegations of misconduct and serious crimes while giving our student-athletes a fair process and waiting for the legal system and university discipline processes to continue.”
According to the lawsuit, Shannon drove to Kansas with teammate Justin Harmon and DaShawn Hobson, an Illinois graduate assistant who accompanied the players on the trip on the weekend of a Kansas football game. The alleged rape occurred at a local bar in Lawrence, Kansas, where a woman said Shannon touched her inappropriately and sexually assaulted her. She then went, according to the investigative report included in Shannon’s lawsuit, to Lawrence police, who contacted Illinois.
Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman confirmed that Lawrence police informed the school that Shannon was the subject of an investigation involving an allegation that he inappropriately touched a woman, but Illinois officials were not told the details of that investigation.
At a later news conference, Whitman said school officials learned of his arrest last month through social media.
“The university and (the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics) have shown time and time again that we have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct,” Whitman said in a statement after Shannon was suspended from all team activities. “At the same time, the DIA policy provides student-athletes with appropriate levels of due process based on the nature and severity of the allegations. We will rely on that policy and our prior experiences to manage this situation appropriately for the university and interested parties.”
Shannon’s lawsuit states that Illinois officials told him the school would not reconsider his suspension until his legal case was resolved, which would force him to miss the rest of the 2023-24 season and “suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief, such as “His career will certainly be ruined if the suspension continues, which will affect his commercial interests including contractual rights.”
“All we want for our clients is a fair process, and (Shannon) has not had that yet,” Shannon’s legal team said in a statement to ESPN. “With all due respect, this was a rush to judgment by the university, and the protocol they implemented to summarily suspend our client ignored the basics of due process and the presumption of innocence. Our team remains hopeful that justice will ultimately be served.”
Shannon is averaging 21.7 points this season.