Terrence Shannon Jr. found not guilty in rape trial

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 14 Jun, 2024 at 12:28 AM

Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Former Illinois standout and NBA draft prospect Terrence Shannon Jr. was found not guilty on felony charges of rape and aggravated sexual battery on Thursday.

A jury in Douglas County, Kan., rendered the verdict after less than two hours of deliberations.

Shannon's trial began Monday, and his lawyers have contended that it was a case of mistaken identity -- that another man, not their client, might have raped a woman last September in Lawrence, Kan.

The defense team was allowed to use video evidence to support their claim. The judge in the case said the man in the video, a "third-party defendant," was accused of sexually touching another woman at the same bar two weeks earlier.

Shannon was charged in December and the university suspended him from basketball activities. After he missed six games, Shannon won his reinstatement via a temporary restraining order, having argued that he should be allowed to continue playing while awaiting the outcome of his case due to the presumption of innocence.

After the verdict, Shannon posted a video to social media that showed clips of him working out along with highlight clips from his time at Illinois. The video was captioned AGTG, or "All Glory to God."

Illinois coach Brad Underwood and athletic director Josh Whitman also released statements.

"I am thrilled for Terrence with the news of today's verdict," Underwood said. "Under six months of intense scrutiny, Terrence has shown tremendous composure, maturity, and focus. He can now put this behind him and move forward with his life. I, along with everyone in our Illinois Basketball program, will continue to offer Terrence our full support as he looks to fulfill his NBA dreams."

"All of us who know and care about Terrence breathed a tremendous sigh of relief with the announcement of today's not guilty verdict," Whitman said. "This has been a very serious and unfortunate situation for all parties involved, and I am happy for Terrence that it has been resolved and his name has been cleared. We look forward to cheering for him as he begins his NBA journey."

The Douglas County District Attorney's office also released a statement, saying, "It takes tremendous courage for a survivor of sexual assault to come forward. We will continue to pursue justice on behalf of survivors."

Shannon, 23, could be selected in the NBA Draft later this month. He averaged 23 points in 32 games (31 starts) for Illinois this season and led the Fighting Illini to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to eventual national champion UConn.

In 2022-23, Shannon scored 17.2 points per game with 4.6 rebounds per game for a team that went 20-13 (11-9 Big Ten).

Prior to his Illinois career, Shannon played three seasons at Texas Tech, averaging 11 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

--Field Level Media