Posted Nov. 9, 2007 – Shortly after a jury was selected for his trial, an Oklahoma State football star admitted he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl at a party when he was 17.
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Christopher Collins Jr., a 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker, who is now 20, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in New Boston, Texas, after a seven-man, five-woman jury was seated for his trial, Bowie County District Attorney Bobby Lockhart said in a statement. It was not part of a deal with prosecutors, said Lisa McDermott, a public information officer for the Bowie County District Attorney’s Office.
The jury gave the OSU sophomore the minimum sentence allowed for the offense under Texas law – five years' probation, which means he may not have to serve any prison time – as long as he meets the requirements of the probation.
“We always respect the collective judgment of 12 jurors,” Bowie County District Attorney Bobby Lockhart told The Associated Press. “I think the defendant’s plea of guilty helped him with the jury.”
Collins was one of four men charged following a May 2004 after-prom party. He testified that the girl had told him she was 16, which she denies.
“We’re real pleased,” Collins' defense attorney, Paul Hoover told AP. “This was a horrible mistake in Mr. Collins’ life and hopefully now he can get on with it.”
But that may not happen at Oklahoma State.
The school has suspended Collins for the remainder of the season, and according to the university's interim president, Marlene Strathe, his long-term status on the OSU football team is still in question, she told SportingNews.com.
A judge will officially sentence Collins on Dec. 10.
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