Football players arrested

Sep 062006
Authors: JAMES BAETKE The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Four former and current CSU students, including three active football players, were arrested and charged with theft and forgery Wednesday, following a 10-month police investigation.

A grand jury is conducting an investigation of its own into the case.

Early Tuesday prosecutors charged and issued arrest warrants for cornerback Robert Herbert, defensive lineman Brian Abata, and defensive back Micah Crews, as well as former football players Tramell McGill and Daniel Foster, CSU student Preston Garcia and Fort Collins resident Calee Chleboun.

Herbert, Abata, Crews, Foster and Chleboun were arrested Wednesday.

The arrest warrants show the defendants were allegedly withdrawing cash from various accounts by writing fraudulent checks and illegally obtaining money orders from US Bank, 7-11 and Western Union with accounts other than their own.

The accounts vary in locality but include the Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union and US National Bank of Oregon, the arrest warrants show.

Officials wouldn’t give an exact dollar figure of the amount allegedly stolen, but the money each is accused of stealing ranges from $500 to $15,000, according to the suspects’ arrest warrants.

Ebony Cotton, Herbert’s girlfriend of two years and senior apparel merchandising major, said her boyfriend is innocent.

“This is what happens when you try to do a favor for somebody,” Cotton said Wednesday while waiting for Herbert to be booked and processed.

Cotton said Herbert was questioned a couple of months ago about an investigation dealing with bankcards but Cotton didn’t elaborate on details.

“This is a shock,” Cotton said, who said she thought the investigation had already ended.

Abata and Crews, both 19, and Herbert, 22, turned themselves in Wednesday to the CSU police department at about 10 a.m., said Cpl. Yvonne Paez, CSUPD spokeswoman.

She added that all three were transported in two police vehicles and accompanied by four officers to the Larimer County Detention Center.

Foster, 22, and Chleboun, 20, also turned themselves in.

Authorities set six of the suspects’ bails at $2,500, while McGill’s was set for $5,000.

Officials close to the case are remaining tight-lipped about the details of the investigation that has been in the works since November. Larry Abrahamson, Larimer County district attorney, said the arrest affidavits are sealed because he doesn’t want to taint the convening grand jury, which has been looking at the case since February.

“These charges are not an indictment that came from the grand jury. This came from an investigation that started in November,” Abrahamson said.

CSU football Head Coach Sonny Lubick announced Wednesday the suspension of the three CSU players involved in the police allegations pending the outcome of the investigation.

“We will cooperate fully with this ongoing investigation. This type of behavior is not tolerated in our program,” Lubick said in a statement.

McGill, an ex-CSU player, is also under suspension from his Arizona Western College team. It is unclear whether McGill is in Colorado.

“These are serious allegations, and we don’t take them lightly at all,” said Jerry Smith, AWC Athletic Director, in a statement.

The six CSU students involved in the case have not been academically disciplined. University officials will have to determine whether the student suspects have violated the Student Code of Conduct and if a suspension could result, said Brad Bohlander, CSU spokesman.

Anne Hudgens, director of Judicial Affairs, said in a statement that the university will work with the police in this investigation, if needed.

“We will use any information provided by authorities to determine an appropriate disciplinary response,” Hudgens said.

University administrators, including President Larry Penley, have been briefed on the charges.

“Dr. Penley and the administration are concerned with the situation and are keeping a close eye on what’s going on,” Bohlander said.

Editors Mike Donovan and Sara Crocker contributed to this story.

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