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Illinois suspends Terrence Shannon Jr. after rape charge

According to a release, Shannon is charged with rape in Kansas.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

According to a release from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics on Thursday, Illinois has suspended Terrence Shannon Jr. indefinitely.

The release said that a warrant was issued for Shannon’s arrest on Wednesday in Douglas County, Kansas.

It said Shannon is charged with rape in connection to an incident when Shannon visited Lawrence, Kansas, for Illinois football’s game against the Jayhawks on Sept. 8.

Officials said Shannon traveled to Lawrence on Thursday where he presented himself to authorities and posted bail. He then returned to Champaign.

“The University and DIA have shown time and time again that we have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct,” said Athletic Director Josh Whitman in a statement. “At the same time, DIA policy affords student-athletes appropriate levels of due process based on the nature and severity of the allegations.”

According to a criminal complaint obtained by WCIA-TV in Champaign, Shannon is charged with one count of rape in Douglas County, Kansas. The complaint alleges that Shannon “did unlawful, religiously, and knowingly engage in sexual intercourse with a person... who did not consent to the sexual intercourse under circumstances when was overcome by force or fear.” That charge carries a minimum of 147 months to a maximum of 653 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $300,000 if Shannon is convicted.

However, there is also an alternative count listed in the complaint for sexual battery, which would only be a Class A person misdemeanor and carry up to one year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Josh Whitman is planning to speak with the media before Friday’s game against Fairleigh Dickinson. It is unclear whether Shannon will be inside State Farm Center during that game, or if the suspension keeps him away from team activities.

In a statement sent to Champaign-area news outlets, an attorney for Shannon said his client “is innocent of these charges, and he intends to take his case to trial.”

Shannon, a Chicago native who played his first three collegiate seasons at Texas Tech, has averaged a team-leading 21.7 points per game for No. 11 Illinois so far this season.