Penn State To Investigate QB

Wednesday, May 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State plans an investigation of quarterback Rashard Casey, who is accused of beating an off-duty police officer unconscious in what might be a racial attack.

Casey has pleaded innocent to aggravated assault in connection with a beating outside a bar in Hoboken, N.J. on Sunday.

The school could suspend or expel Casey regardless of the outcome of his case, spokesman Bill Mahon said Tuesday.

Casey's status on the team remains the same until ``the judicial process takes its course,'' sports information director Jeff Nelson said Tuesday.

Casey has been tapped as next season's starting quarterback.

``Rashard has not been a discipline problem during his time at Penn State and the conduct alleged in the charges is inconsistent with the personality he's demonstrated to me and the members of the coaching staff,'' coach Joe Paterno said. ``I hope and expect he will be exonerated when all of the facts are examined.''

Police said Casey, 22, punched Officer Patrick Fitzsimmons, 34, as he was walking to his car outside a Hoboken, N.J., bar early Sunday. Casey and high school teammate Desmond Miller, 22, kicked the officer in the head once he fell and continued to kick him after he lost consciousness.

Police said it may have been racially motivated. Fitzsimmons, who is white, was at the bar with a black woman. A witness said Casey and Miller, who are black, yelled at the woman that she shouldn't be with a white man.

Casey is enrolled at Penn State's summer session and his plans have not changed, Nelson said. Classes began Monday. It is unknown whether he has attended class.