Montrel Meander

Former Texas wide receivers Montrel Meander, left, and Kendall Sanders, right.

Photo Credit: Texas Sports

Former Texas football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, both of whom were charged with second-degree felonies for sexual assault, have been indicted, according to documents from the Travis County Court.

According to the documents, dated Dec. 8, a grand jury found enough evidence to indict the two players for sexual assault, which means the trials will go forward. Meander is set to appear in court Wednesday, and Sanders on Jan. 23, according to Travis County court records.

Sanders and Meander were originally arrested July 24 after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in a campus dorm on June 21. Immediately following the arrests, Texas head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. He announced on Aug. 3 that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges brought against them.

If convicted, the two could each face a sentence of two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Over the winter break, three former student-athletes will face criminal court hearings. Below is an update on their cases:

Sanders and Meander

The preliminary hearings for former Texas football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, both of whom were charged with second-degree felonies for sexual assault, have been rescheduled for 9 a.m. on Dec. 5 and Dec. 15, respectively, according to Travis County court records. Both cases have been rescheduled multiple times since the players’ first scheduled court date in August.

If convicted, they could face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. According to Travis County Clerk Grace Ramirez, it could take up to a year before the players are indicted and the cases
move forward.

Sanders and Meander were originally arrested July 24 after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in a campus dorm on June 21. Immediately following the arrests, Texas head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. He announced on Aug. 3 that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges brought against them.

Bail was set at $75,000 for both Meander and Sanders for one count of sexual assault each. Sanders has an additional bail of $20,000 for a charge of improper photography.

Martez Walker

After being rescheduled multiple times, the hearing for former basketball guard Martez Walker, who is charged for alleged assault with injury and criminal trespass, is scheduled for Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m., according to Travis County court records.

Head coach Rick Barnes suspended Walker from the team on Sept. 12 after Walker allegedly hit his girlfriend in an incident at San Jacinto Residence Hall, according to a statement released by the University. Walker turned himself in at the Travis County Courthouse after the incident, and a judge issued an arrest warrant in which bond was set at $7,500.

While banned, Walker reappeared on campus less than a week later, when he was arrested for trespassing by returning to the dormitory where the alleged assault occurred. He was taken into custody by UTPD and transported to Travis County Jail.

University officials confirmed on Oct. 9 that Walker had withdrawn from the University.

The preliminary hearing for former Longhorn football wide receiver Montrel Meander, who was charged earlier this summer with a second-degree felony for sexual assault, was rescheduled again Thursday.

The hearing was reset to 9 a.m. on Nov. 10, according to Travis County District Court Bailiff Anthony Casarez.

This is the third time the preliminary hearing has been rescheduled. It was originally set for Aug. 7 and then delayed to Sept. 2.

Meander was arrested in July, along with former wide receiver Kendall Sanders, after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in San Jacinto Residence Hall. Both Meander and Sanders were later released on bail.

If convicted, both players could possibly face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Immediately following the arrests, head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. On Aug. 3, he announced that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges against them.

Sanders’ hearing is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.

Editor’s Note: “Peace be upon him” (abbreviated “pbuh”) is a salutation for the prophets of Islam. Who receives salutations depends on the school of thought. It is a mandatory practice per the Quran and hadiths.

NFL players such as Ray Rice and others have infamously made national headlines for alleged abuse. Unfortunately, some of our very own Longhorns are facing the same charges. Martez Walker, of the Longhorn basketball team, has been suspended indefinitely after being charged for assaulting a woman, and both Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, of the Longhorn football team, were suspended indefinitely after being arrested and charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony. This streak of violent acts making the headlines exposes a longstanding reality of sexual violence, causing alarm to many communities. Actress Emma Watson recently gave a speech at the U.N that highlighted the HeForShe campaign, “a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity, for the entirety of humanity.” On this same note of solidarity for justice, the Texas Muslim Council, a representative body of all the Muslim organizations at the University of Texas at Austin, released a statement on Tuesday spurning such acts and calling for community wide solidarity against this “stain on humanity.” 

Eight Muslim organizations make up the Texas Muslim Council, representing a diverse Muslim demographic. Their public statement came out of an obligation to speak up against what they see as an “injustice that threatens justice everywhere.” They argue that remaining silent makes one complicit in any form of oppression. This is also an opportunity to make clear that while the Muslim world does experience gross violations of women’s rights, Islam is very clear on protecting women’s rights. The unfortunate reality of women’s rights in the Muslim world is the result of culture corrupting religion and ignorance betraying the legal sources, like the Quran.  

Islamic law is derived from three sources, the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and the traditions or actions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). From each of these sources, the message of love, affection and mercy are consistently made clear. Of the many instances, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is said to have consoled his wife, lain in her lap and assisted in housework. Such narrations and traditions exemplify what the Quran preaches. 

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”

In addition to speaking out against these violations, the Muslim community is taking an active role in providing relief and combating the problem. For example, on Oct. 9, the UT Muslim Students Association will be holding its first-ever fundraising dinner concerning domestic abuse. The charity dinner will be co-hosted with UT Voices Against Violence, a program under the Counseling and Mental Health Center that addresses issues such as relationship violence, sexual violence and stalking, and the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, an organization that seeks to empower, promote and support all women and their families. The fundraiser will be the first of the “Be an Anchor” initiative through VAV. The proceeds raised will support VAV Survivor’s Emergency Fund, which provides aid to victims of domestic and sexual violence in the UT Community, and will go toward making UT MSA the first “anchor,” or sponsor, for VAV. 

It is regrettable that it takes the suspensions of football players and the like to have this conversation, but nonetheless, we are presented with an opportunity to make it extremely clear that violence against women will not be tolerated and will not represent the UT community or humanity. The march in solidarity for women’s justice is a long one, but the right one. It will not be easy, but we have a diverse group of allies. Islam is not a religion that condones abuse against women, and its followers are allies. Let’s end abuse together.

Rizvi is a government senior from Chicago.

The preliminary hearings for former Texas football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, both of whom were charged earlier this summer with second-degree felonies for sexual assault, were rescheduled again Tuesday. 

Meander’s hearing was reset to 9 a.m. on Oct. 16, and Sanders’ was reset for the same time Oct. 17, according to Travis County district court bailiff Anthony Casarez.

Meander and his attorney did not show in court Tuesday, when the hearing was originally supposed to occur. Sanders’ attorney Brian Roark appeared before District Judge Mike Lynch to reset the hearing date for Sanders but otherwise declined to comment on the case.

This is the second time the preliminary hearings have been rescheduled. They were originally set for Aug. 7 and then delayed to Sept. 2. 

The two former wide receivers were arrested in July after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in San Jacinto Residence Hall. According to UTPD Chief David Carter, both were later released on bond because they did not pose a danger to other students.

If convicted, both players could possibly face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Immediately following the arrests, head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. On Aug. 3, he announced that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges against them.

The students are also being investigated by Student Judicial Services, which could result in the players’ expulsion fromthe University.

Several court cases related to the University and the Austin area have progressed over the summer. Below is an update on the status of three major cases:

Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander

The preliminary hearing for former Texas football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, both of whom were charged with second-degree felonies for sexual assault, has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 2, according to Travis County court records. The date was rescheduled from Aug. 7 in order to ensure that both players had legal representation.

Sanders and Meander were arrested July 24 after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in a campus dorm on June 21. According to UTPD Chief David Carter, both players were released later that day on bond because they did not pose a danger to other students. 

Immediately following the arrests, Texas head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. He then announced on Aug. 3 that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges brought against them. 

Bail was set at $75,000 for both Meander and Sanders for one count of sexual assault each. Sanders has an additional bail of $20,000 for a charge of improper photography. If convicted, both players could face a sentence of up to 20 years and an additional fine of up to $10,000.

President William Powers Jr. said in a statement that the University has undertaken a Student Judicial Services review, which could result in the players’ expulsion from the University. 

Rashad Owens

Court dates for Rashad Owens have been pushed back four times since he was arrested in March. 

Owens was charged with capital murder after driving while drunk through a barrier on Red River Street during the South By Southwest festival last March, killing four people and injuring 20 others. 

Owens was originally scheduled to appear in court April 9, before his trial, but a number of no-shows and requests by his attorney have pushed the pretrial hearing back to 9 a.m. on Oct. 6. According to Janice Porter, Travis County court clerk, it could possibly be another year before Owens goes to trial. 

The charges against Owens include capital murder, four counts of felony murder and 24 counts of aggravated assault. Bond was set at $5.5 million.

Rahatul Khan

After pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy for attempting to provide terrorists with material support, UT student Rahatul Khan could face up to 15 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. At the plea hearing on July 2, Khan admitted to providing a recommendation to a co-conspirator about someone who wanted to engage in terrorist activities in Somalia. 

Khan was arrested by federal prosecutors in Round Rock on June 17, the same day as another conspirator, Michael Wolfe, was arrested in Houston and eventually given the same charge. Wolfe said he planned to travel to Syria and fight with a terrorist group linked to al-Qaida.

On June 20, Khan was officially indicted by a federal grand jury with the charge of conspiracy and waived his formal arraignment, or formal reading of criminal charges. He was scheduled to appear at a detention hearing to determine whether he could have been released on bond before his trial on June 30 but waived the right to that hearing also. 

On June 27, Wolfe pled guilty, and Khan pled guilty on July 2. Both are still in federal custody, pending sentencing before District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin. No sentencing date has been scheduled.

Former Texas wide receivers Montrel Meander, left, and Kendall Sanders, right.

Photo Credit: Texas Sports

UT football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander were taken into custody after being arrested and charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony on Thursday. If convicted, the accused face a sentence of two to twenty years, and in addition may face a fine up to $10,000.

The arrest came a month after an incident was reported at San Jacinto Residence Hall at 3:43 a.m. on June 21. Both players have been charged with sexual assault and Sanders has also been charged with improper photography after having taken a picture of the victim during the event.

UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey said officers were in the process of arresting the players Thursday morning. Bail was set at $75,000 for both Meander and Sanders for one count of sexual assault. Sanders has an additional bail of $20,000 for the count of improper photography. At a press conference, UTPD Chief David Carter said the players were released on bond because they do not pose a danger to other students.

In a statement released Thursday, President William Powers Jr. said the University needs to be “free from all sexual assault and violence."

“At The University of Texas at Austin, student safety is our top priority and we are involved with the national efforts to prevent a culture of sexual violence from taking root on campuses,” Powers said. “We educate all of our students about preventing sexual assault and vigorously investigate all allegations so we can take the appropriate action.”

Powers said the University is carrying out a Student Judicial Services review, which could result in the players' expulsion form the University. 

Texas head coach Charlie Strong issued a statement Thursday announcing that both players have been suspended from the team indefinitely and will no longer participate in team functions.

“It’s been made clear to everyone on our team that treating women with respect is one of our core values,” Strong said in the statement. “I’m extremely disappointed that two young men in our program have been accused of not doing that.”

At Big 12 Media Days, Strong said that two players had lost their right to enter Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletics Center after violating the team’s core values. Strong said that the players would have to earn their right to enter the team facility. Strong also made it clear that there would be consequences for breaking his core values.

“I tell them right away, if you don’t want to be a part of this football team, break a core value,” Strong said. “You’re telling me you don’t want to be here, starter or no starter.”

Both Sanders and Meander played as wide receivers for the team. An education junior, Sanders started in seven games during the 2013 season. Meander is an undeclared freshman and was redshirted last season.

In the affidavits for their arrests, UTPD officers said they found the victim crying underneath a desk. The victim said she had consented to having sex with Meander after coming home from Sixth Street. According to the documents, Sanders then knocked on the door and Meander let him in while Meander went to the bathroom.

The victim said Sanders then removed his clothing while she said she did not want to have sex with him. According to the affidavit, Sanders then ignored her and proceeded to get in bed and force himself onto the victim. The affidavit states that the victim protested, but “Sanders told the victim she would like it and that it is going to feel good.”

When Meander came back into the room, the victim said she withdrew her consent to sex with him, but both Sanders and Meander continued to assualt her. Sanders, Meander and the victim all knew each other previously.

During the incident the victim said she saw a flash, but did not receive an answer when she asked about a photo or recording. UTPD officers later found at least one photo of the victim on Sanders' phone.

Calls to players' attorneys have not been returned.

Athletic Director Steve Patterson released a statement stating that the athletic department holds its student-athletes to a high standard, but as this is a legal matter they cannot provide more information.

Additional reporting by Amanda Voeller. This story has been updated throughout since its original publication.

Desoto running back Dontre Wilson flipped his commitment from Oregon to Ohio State in a Monday night press conference.

Wilson, who is rated as the fifth-best all purpose back in the nation by rivals.com, had initially verbally committed to the Ducks on May 25, but reopened his commitment after former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly left the school to fill the head coaching vacancy for the Philadelphia Eagles.

In addition to Ohio State and Oregon, Wilson also considered Texas. He spent this past weekend in Austin visiting with members of the UT coaching staff, meeting players and touring campus. Evidently, it wasn’t enough to secure his commitment.

“I just feel like [Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer] has something good going on. They could have gone to the National Championship this year if they were able to go to a bowl game,” Wilson said to KDFW’s Max Morgan.

Today wasn’t a total recruiting bust for the Longhorns though. Earlier in the day, Texas received a verbal commitment from Palo Duro safety/wide receiver Montrel Meander. Meander flipped his commitment from Washington State to Texas after visiting campus this weekend.

Though most schools offered Meander as a safety, Texas will give him the chance to play wide receiver next year, which seems to have played a major part in his decision.

Texas now has 15 verbal commitments for the 2013 class. The Longhorn coaching staff hopes to add at least one more before National Signing Day, which could come from Waco defensive tackle Andrew Billings. Billings will announce his decision at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Montrel Meander of Amarillo Palo Duro.

Photo Credit: Rivals.com | Daily Texan Staff

Though they missed out on Dontre Wilson, Monday wasn’t a total recruiting bust for the Longhorns. Earlier in the day, Texas received a verbal commitment from Palo Duro safety/wide receiver Montrel Meander, who flipped his commitment from Washington State to Texas after visiting campus this weekend.

Most schools offered Meander as a safety, but Texas will give him the chance to play wide receiver next year, which seems to have played a major part in his decision.

Texas now has 15 verbal commitments for the 2013 class. The coaching staff hopes to add at least one more before national signing day, which could come from Waco defensive tackle Andrew Billings, who will announce his decision at 3 p.m. Tuesday.