Husker To Be Tried for Sex Assault

Thursday, June 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The attorney for suspended Nebraska linebacker Mark Vedral wants his client's trial on a sexual assault charge to take place before the college football season starts.

``We'd like to have it tried before August,'' attorney John Sohl said Wednesday, following Vedral's one-hour preliminary hearing.

Lancaster County Judge Mary Doyle determined after the hearing that there was enough evidence to send the case to district court for arraignment on June 21.

Vedral, 21, is accused of having sex with a woman while she slept in his housemate's bed. He has been charged with first-degree sexual assault and faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted.

Vedral maintains his innocence, Sohl said.

The 20-year-old woman allegedly attacked by Vedral testified Wednesday that she first met Vedral on May 5, at a party she attended with Nebraska defensive end Chris Kelsay.

The party was at Kelsay's duplex, which he shared with Vedral and another man.

The woman said she fell asleep in Kelsay's bed. She woke up and discovered Vedral having sex with her.

``I was confused,'' she said, wiping away tears.

She said she pushed the man off her and he ran out of the room. She identified the attacker as Vedral.

The woman then had a friend pick her up and take her to a hospital where she was examined and the police took a statement.

A Lincoln police detective said he went to the duplex the next morning and asked Vedral to ride with him to the station for more questions.

During that ride, the officer said Vedral told him he had been lying in bed with the woman, talking and kissing her. The officer said Vedral told him they had sex but he stopped after she realized he was not Kelsay.

The officer said Vedral told him he felt bad about what had happened.

Vedral did not take the stand at the hearing, but his attorney said Vedral had been talking with the woman before they had sex and he stopped when she said to.

``We do have a `he says, she says,''' Vedral's attorney told the judge. ``It was either mistaken identity or something.''

Vedral, of Gregory, S.D., was suspended from the team last month after charges were brought.

Coach Frank Solich has said Vedral will not be allowed to practice or compete with the team until the case is resolved.

As a sophomore, Vedral played as a backup and on special teams in all 13 games last season. He and Randy Stella were both listed as the top weakside linebackers headed into the fall.

Vedral also could face disciplinary action from the school, including suspension.

Vedral is the second player in the last year to be suspended from the Nebraska team because of accusations of off-campus misconduct. Former wing back Shevin Wiggins missed an extra year of eligibility that the NCAA had granted him last season when he was suspended last summer.

Wiggins, best remembered for kicking the ball that teammate Matt Davison caught in the end zone to force overtime in the Huskers' 1997 win at Missouri, had been accused of fondling a 14-year-old girl.

He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in February, more than a month after the season ended.