Former Xavier guard Dez Wells filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the school for what he believes was a wrongful expulsion last summer, according to Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel. Xavier President Father Michael Graham was also named in the suit.
Xavier dismissed Wells last year following an allegation of sexual assault. However, the prosecutor investigating the case didn't find nearly enough proof to charge Wells, while a grand jury also declined to indict the guard. Wells transferred to Maryland soon after his ouster from Xavier.
Wells filed the lawsuit at the United States District Court in Cincinnati. The suit seeks monetary compensation as well as an overturning of Wells' expulsion, although he has no interest in returning to Xavier.
Wells released a statement to Yahoo! Sports through his attorney, Peter Ginsberg:
"From the moment this nightmare began, I've been trying to get everyone to understand that I am innocent," Wells said in the statement. "The supposed leaders at Xavier destroyed my reputation. It needs to make this right. Xavier needs to set the record straight."
Wells has reportedly dealt with "severe emotional distress" due to the allegation and he has faced constant heckling during road games. The guard hopes the lawsuit will clear his name of the "false accusation."
The alleged incident took place on June 7, 2012, when Wells and a female Xavier student took part in a group "truth or Dare" game that included several dares of a sexual nature. The two allegedly had consensual sex later in the night, but the woman told campus police the next day that she had been sexually assaulted. After meeting with Cincinnati police, she declined to press charges.
Before Wells was cleared by the prosecutor and the grand jury, the guard was called in front of Xavier's University Conduct Board. With Wells unable to prove his innocence, the school expelled him on Aug. 3, 2012.
Father Graham responded to Wells' lawsuit with a statement of his own Tuesday night:
"We have read the complaint and the allegations of wrongdoing are unfounded and cannot be supported," Graham said. "The process used by the Xavier University Conduct Board (UCB) applies to all of our students and is the standard used in American universities. After members of theConduct Board reached their decision, the matter was considered and upheld in an appeal. The sanction for the offense was expulsion.
"The University has never revealed the specific charge against Dez Wells other than to say he was found responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The university will vigorously defend the process and the decision."
Following his expulsion from Xavier, the NCAA granted Wells immediate eligibility upon his transfer to Maryland. The sophomore guard averaged a team-high 13.1 points for the Terrapins last season.