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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rape charges dropped against UNM football players

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By Sergio Jiménez / New Mexico Daily Lobo

New Mexico running back Crusoe Gongbay runs on the sidelines during a game against Air Force on Nov. 8, 2013.

by Thomas Romero-Salas

Rape charges against UNM football player Crusoe Gongbay and CNM student Ryan Ruff were dismissed earlier this week by the District Attorney’s office.

Gongbay and Ruff were accused of raping a female UNM student along with a third suspect, Lobo cornerback SaQwan Edwards. Ruff was accused of raping the woman at gunpoint.

District Attorney Spokesperson Kayla Anderson has told several media outlets that the charges against Gongbay and Ruff have been dropped and that the charges against Edwards will be dropped later this week.

Anderson said the prosecutors can refile charges if any more evidence is found, and in a statement UNM said it’s continuing its investigation.

On Tuesday, attorney George Anthony Bleus showed local media videos that demonstrated the victim may have been the sexual aggressor.

Bleus told the media that those were just a few of the videos that he’s obtained. Most are “so sexually explicit and salacious” they couldn’t be shown.

The attorney also probed whether the victim’s motives were racially motivated – the victim is white, while the three who are accused of rape are black.

“It’s too simple these days to just blame the black guy,” Bleus told the media, adding that’s one reason why he took the case at no charge. Bleus is black.

When the charges were issued, Edwards and Gongbay were suspended indefinitely by UNM head football coach Bob Davie. In a statement, sports information director Frank Mercogliano said, “When and if there is a change in the status of SaQwan Edwards and Crusoe Gongbay, we will let all the appropriate parties know. Any change in their status would come from Coach Davie in consultation with Vice President of Athletics Paul Krebs.”

In a statement, UNM spokesperson Dianne Anderson said the University is still continuing its criminal investigation and the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity is conducting a separate investigation to determine whether any student conduct violations occurred.

Thomas Romero-Salas is the sports editor of the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @ThomasRomeroS.