Terrapins men's basketball forward Dez Wells filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Xavier and its president, the Rev. Michael Graham, for his expulsion from the school last summer.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Cincinnati, seeks monetary compensation and for the court to vacate the decision of Wells’ expulsion.
Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel first reported the lawsuit.
Wells, the Terps' leading scorer last season, was expelled from Xavier after allegations of sexual assault. When Joe Deters, a Hamilton County, Ohio, prosecutor, looked into the case, he decided not to press charges and said that based on the evidence, the case "should never have gotten to the point where someone's reputation is ruined.
“[T]here is something flawed with a procedure where a young man and his accused appear before a group of people, which I would suggest probably isn’t well trained in assessing these types of cases and they sit and tell their stories. No lawyers, no nothing,” Deters said in a statement released by Wells’ lawyer, Peter Ginsberg. “There’s just something wrong with that. … If I thought [Wells] did this, he’d be in prison. I wouldn’t pull any punches.”
Wells was a freshman starter on the Musketeers in the 2011-12 season. The Raleigh, N.C., native does not intend to return to the Cincinnati school, his attorney told Yahoo! Sports, but he "suffered severe emotional distress" from being accused of sexual assault, including being heckled at road games.
The lawsuit states Wells “has been publicly humiliated, and felt ashamed, emotionally distraught and violated.”
Xavier also released a statement to Yahoo! Sports from Graham.
"We have read the complaint and the allegations of wrongdoing are unfounded and cannot be supported," Graham said. "The process used by the Xavier University Conduct Board applies to all of our students and is the standard used in American universities. After members of the Conduct Board reached their decision, the matter was considered and upheld in an appeal. The sanction for the offense was expulsion."
A release from Ginsberg states that Xavier informed Wells of his expulsion through email, evicted him from campus housing and revoked his scholarship.
"From the moment this nightmare began, I've been trying to get everyone to understand that I am innocent," Wells said in a statement through Ginsberg. "The supposed leaders at Xavier destroyed my reputation. It needs to make this right. Xavier needs to set the record straight."
Ginsberg's release also states that Xavier had been under scrutiny from the federal government for mishandling previous sexual assault cases, and that the school's decision to expel Wells made the basketball player "a scapegoat."
Wells — who averaged 13.1 points and 4.9 assists last season — and the Terps begin their season on Nov. 8 against Connecticut at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The junior guard is expected to be a key component for coach Mark Turgeon’s team this year, particularly after his strong play down the stretch last season, including a 30-point performance in an ACC tournament victory over Duke.
Xavier, a team playing its first year in the Big East after leaving the Atlantic-10, is not on the Terps' schedule.