3 Lindenwood basketball players face charges in rape case

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) Three basketball players at Lindenwood University in suburban St. Louis are facing charges in connection with an alleged rape.

Authorities say 22-year-old Ermias Tesfia Nega of Arlington, Virginia, and 19-year-old Tylan Jamon Birts of Homestead, Florida, were charged Oct. 14 with second-degree rape. A third player, 20-year-old Bradley Newman Jr. of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, was charged with second-degree invasion of privacy.

The university says all three are suspended from the team, which plays in NCAA Division II.

Attorneys for all three men say their clients will plead not guilty.

A probable cause statement says Nega had consensual sex with the victim Sept. 18, then told Newman and Birts she was ''ready'' for sex. The victim says she realized after turning on a light that she was having sex with Birts, not Nega, with Newman watching.

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