Grizzly Basketball Player Released on Strangulation Charges
20 year-old University of Montana basketball player Naseem Gaskin has been released on his own recognizance after having been charged with felony strangulation of his girlfriend.
Gaskin appeared on Friday afternoon via video from the Missoula County Jail before Justice of the Peace Alex Beal.
This young man has absolutely zero criminal history either as an adult or as a juvenile. We deny the allegations that are set forth, and intend to plead not guilty to them and challenge them.
Deputy County Attorney Carrie Garber laid out the charges against Gaskin.
“Your Honor, the state is requesting $30,000 bond,” said Garber. “The reason that we're requesting that bond Your Honor is based upon this individual’s danger to the community, and most specifically to the victim in this case. During her interview with law enforcement who clearly observed marks and bruises on her neck and other parts of her body. This is not the first time that it has happened. According to her he's attempted to strangle her at least one other time and has been assaulted by this individual in a similar fashion several times during their short three month relationship.”
Gaskin’s attorney, Mr. Lofney, then addressed the judge.
“Your Honor, I'm requesting that Mr. Gaskin be released on his own recognizance with appropriate conditions imposed,” he said. “This young man has absolutely zero criminal history either as an adult or as a juvenile. We deny the allegations that are set forth, and intend to plead not guilty to them and challenge them.”
Lofney said Gaskin, if released, would return to his home in Oakland, California to live with his father while the case goes forward.
According to the University of Montana Code of Conduct manual, there are specific steps taken when a student athlete is charged with a felony.
‘Category I Violation A Category I violation occurs in any situation where an individual: Is charged with a felony and, in looking at the totality of the circumstances, it is reasonable to believe the person committed the act (e.g., rape, sexual assault, other felony assault, felony theft, felony DUI, etc.). Preliminary Action: The Athletic Director or his/her designee shall take preliminary action to temporarily suspend a student-athlete from participation in practice, competition, and/or access to athletic department services when a student-athlete has been charged with a felony. The suspension is indefinite pending the outcome of criminal proceedings and disciplinary action by the ACT, which as soon as possible shall be informed by the AD or designee of the temporary suspension and meet to discuss the issue. In cases where charges have not been filed, but reasonable evidence exists that a student-athlete may have committed a Category I violation (e.g., other specific and credible information exists such as arrest record, statements of law enforcement officers, University records, third-party or witness statements, or acknowledgement by the student-athlete), the ACT shall convene and determine preliminary action.’
Coach Travis DeCuire and several Grizzly basketball players appeared on the ZOOM call in support of their teammate.
Judge Beal released Gaskin on his own recognizance without bail.
His next court appearance is August 31.
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