Photo by Jenny Welsh, The Daily Nebraskan

Former Huskers tight end, Katerian LeGrone, was present in Lancaster County Court on Wed. March 11 for his preliminary hearing. He was represented by criminal defense attorney Mallory Hughes of the Dornan Law Team in Omaha, Neb. The hearing began at 8:30 a.m. and lasted almost two hours. LeGrone, alongside Andre Hunt, is charged with first degree sexual assault after an incident that occurred on August 25, 2019. 

In the two hours dedicated to LeGrone’s hearing, the state called two witnesses. One being David Lopez, who testified on February 26 in the hearing for Hunt. The other was investigator Cameron Cleland. Lopez interviewed the accuser at the hospital on the night of the assault and took the lead on the case. He was met at the scene by Cleland to question the accused. The two took initial statements from LeGrone and Hunt in the early hours of Aug. 26. Both Hunt and LeGrone denied that LeGrone had any physical contact with the accuser. LeGrone claimed he didn’t even know the victim. Both cooperated in the investigation and provided DNA samples that night in the form of a suspect kit.

Later that day, LeGrone and Hunt contacted Lopez and Cleland to revise their initial statements. Lopez reported that LeGrone had called his office eight times and left one message before Lopez and Cleland arrived at work around 3 p.m. Lopez took LeGrone’s corrected statement that evening. In this statement, he admitted to having consensual sex with the victim. Hunt’s new statement corroborated the story. 

The admission came after the accused had discussed the consequences of giving a false report. Hunt was nervous that the DNA samples they had provided were enough to invalidate their story. LeGrone put Hunt’s nerves at ease by claiming he had looked into it and it’d be difficult to detect DNA. The DNA report could not eliminate LeGrone as a person of interest. The combination of the DNA evidence and the data collected from his phone was enough to warrant an affidavit for LeGrone’s arrest.

LeGrone’s case, represented by Hughes, relies on the fact that Nebraska is not an affirmative consent state. Only seven states have passed some kind of affirmative consent law, although Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks has introduced an affirmative consent bill (LB988) bill that would adopt affirmative consent as the standard for criminal sexual assault cases. However, as of now, the state of Nebraska says that the victim must resist, either verbally or physically, so as to make the victim’s refusal to consent genuine.

Judge Joseph Dalton found that the state prosecutors presented probable cause to bind the case over to district court for a trial. LeGrone’s trial will begin on April 1 at 9 a.m in the Lancaster County Courthouse.

Senior Sports Media and Communication major at the University of Nebraska