LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Two players are suing New Mexico State University for hazing and sexual assault while they were on the basketball team. The hazing led to NMSU canceling their season and firing their coach. It was also just one of the high-profile incidents involving Aggie players.
The lawsuit states three NMSU players harassed William “Duece” Benjamin and Shak Odunewu. The lawsuit names former New Mexico men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar, associate head coach Dominique Taylor, as well as three players Doctor Bradley, Kim Aiken Junior, and Deshawndre Washington.
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The lawsuit states they were the three players accused of hazing and sexual assault that the suit says began in July of 2022. Shak Odunewu and William “Duece” Benjamin and Duece’s father William Benjamin claim they faced embarrassing harassment. The lawsuit states in the summer of 2022, Bradley, Aiken Jr., and Washington ripped open the shower curtain and forced Odunewu to spin around and do squats as they slapped his bottom. Odunewu says Bradley filmed this incident.
The suit says the worst happened on November 12 which was one week before the deadly shooting on UNM’s campus involving a different NMSU basketball player, Mike Peake.
On November 12, during a road game at the University of Texas at El Paso, the lawsuit claims the three players cornered Odunewu, taunted him, tackled him to the floor of the bus, pulled his pants, and sexually assaulted him. The suit claims the coaching staff was on the bus at the time and even one of the coaches turned around and yelled out, “Stop playing around.” Odunewu claims he informed coaches and they did nothing.
The incident that caused the NMSU program to cancel the rest of their happened on the road in February. The lawsuit claims Duece Benjamin was pulled into a hotel room where “some players were with some young women.” The suit states Washington instructed Duece to pull down his pants in front of the women and says one player forcibly grabbed his privates.
When Duece’s father William, a former NMSU basketball player himself found out, that’s when the suit says the incidents were reported to police back in February and are still being investigated.
In response to this lawsuit, NMSU says “while they don’t comment on pending litigation, we want to assure everyone that this issue is being taken seriously.”
So far no charges have officially been filed against any of the players. The case has been turned over to the AG’s office to determine if anyone will be charged.