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Ex-Hoop Players Acquitted in Rape Case

November 4, 2005

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Two former La Salle basketball players who were accused of rape were acquitted on all charges by a jury Friday.

Attorneys for Gary Neal and Michael Cleaves maintained that the sex with a woman was consensual, but prosecutors said the then-19-year-old woman was drunk and too incapacitated to give consent.

The case _ plus a separate rape case involving a third La Salle player _ ultimately led to the removal of both men’s coach Billy Hahn and women’s coach John Miller.

Neal, 21, of Baltimore, and Cleaves, 23, of Paterson, N.J., are no longer enrolled in the school.

Prosecutors claimed Neal and Cleaves raped the visiting University of New Haven player, who was finishing up a one-week stint as a La Salle basketball camp counselor, as she vomited in a sink after drinking eight shots of high-proof alcohol.

Defense attorneys said the woman made up the allegation out of embarrassment after other female basketball players began to gossip.

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