2 in custody released in Center City hotel sex assault case

(AP)
January 9, 2013 7:55:25 AM PST
Police have released the two men being held after an alleged sexual assault at the Four Seasons hotel in Center City Philadelphia.

Investigators say they are awaiting toxicology and DNA testing, and then it will be up to the District Attorney to decide whether charges will be filed in the case.

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Authorities were called to the Four Seasons Hotel on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says officers found a highly-intoxicated, incoherent 21-year-old woman who told authorities she'd been raped.

Sources say the woman was in hotel suite 663 with six men, friends of hers, including 26-year-old Brooklyn Nets forward Andray Blatche.

According to sources, Blatche met the alleged victim at Delilah's gentlemen's club on Spring Garden Street. They say she along with two other women went to the Four Seasons Hotel suite.

The suite was being rented by Blatche, whose one-year contract with the Nets became guarenteed just hours before the alleged incident.

The woman told investigators at least two of the men raped her and the others saw what was happening.

Sources tell Action News investigators found samples of the date rape drug in the suite.

Blatche and three others were questioned by police Tuesday morning. Blatche was released after a short time, though, the other two were held for further questioning before being released as well.

"We don't have anything at this point in time to charge anyone with a crime," Ramsey said.

The Nets forward told police while he was in the hotel suite, he was not in the same room where the sex was taking place.

But sources say investigators found Blatche's cell phone with what they described as compromising pictures of the alleged victim.

Even so, Commissioner Ramsey says he was released without being charged.

"He was released and from early information that we have, he may not be a person that was even involved in terms of actually assaulting anyone," Ramsey said.

During a morning practice at the Wells Fargo Center in preparation of the Nets' game with the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night, Blatche answered a few short questions from reporters.

"I don't even know what to tell you what happened. I'm just here to play basketball; I'm focused on the game tonight," Blatche said.

Sources tell Action News that some of the men in the hotel suite are telling authorities that the sex was consensual.

The 21-year-old woman was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital where she was questioned and released Tuesday afternoon.

At the morning practice, Blatche was questioned on the alleged victim being taken to the hospital.

"I couldn't even tell you why, maybe she was sick. I don't know," Blatche said.

Blatche is no stranger to the law. Several years ago, while playing for the Washington Wizards, the power forward was arrested for soliciting an undercover officer posing as a prostitute.

He also was arrested for reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

With the investigation ongoing, Blatche has retained high-profile attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. Peruto tells Action News he has not had a chance to speak with his client so he was unable to comment.

Blatche went on to score 20 points in the Nets' win over the 76ers.

The Brooklyn Nets' leadership, meanwhile, is not saying much about this incident.

Nets General Manager and former 76ers GM Billy King wouldn't speak with Action News on camera.

The team did, however, issue a statement:

"We are aware of the ongoing police investigation regarding a member of the Brooklyn Nets. We will have no further comment until the investigation has concluded. All of our players are available for tonight's game."

Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo had no comment, other than to say his players aren't affected by the investigation.

"We issued a statement. They're fine. The players, it's like anything else, they've got to focus and play a basketball game," Carlesimo said.

Meanwhile, Four Seasons management said in a statement:

"Police responded to a call last night at the hotel, the hotel is fully cooperating with the Philadelphia Police."

Philadelphia police say they investigate all reports of sexual assault and will have no further public comment as the investigation continues.


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