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Lawyers: Remove prosecutors trying football sex assault case

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By The Associated Press

BIXBY, Okla. (AP) - Attorneys for four ex-high school football players charged in Oklahoma with sexually assaulting a former teammate want the prosecutor trying the case removed because they say his office has close ties with the accuser's family.

Court paperwork filed Tuesday seeks to disqualify Matt Ballard and other prosecutors in his office on grounds the relationships jeopardize the Bixby High School students' chance of a fair trial.

The four teens charged have pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape by instrumentation. Their attorneys say there was "roughhousing" but no assault. The Associated Press is not naming the defendants because they may be tried as juveniles.

Ballard said in a statement he won't step aside.

Prosecutors also are investigating whether school officials took too long to tell police after a 16-year-old boy said he was assaulted in September with a pool cue.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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