Originally created 08/14/97

Cowboys lineman accused of sexual assault

DALLAS (AP) - Nate Newton, the Dallas Cowboys' All-Pro offensive guard, was named in a sexual-assault complaint filed by a woman who said she was attacked at her suburban Grand Prairie home in June, authorities said Wednesday.

Newton has not been charged with any crime and his attorney said Wednesday that his client had a relationship with the woman and that she later asked the lawyer and the Cowboys for money to not report the alleged incident.

"Nate Newton denies that he sexually assaulted this lady," said Howard Shapiro of Plano, Newton's attorney.

The alleged victim, who is in her 30s, filed a police report July 8 after first trying to file a complaint with Dallas County prosecutors, Grand Prairie Deputy Chief Brad Geary said.

The woman said Newton, an acquaintance, came to her home about 1 a.m. on June 15 and sexually assaulted her, according to Geary.

David Cole, the woman's attorney, did not return a call from The Associated Press on Wednesday. A recorded message at Cole's office said he was out of town.

However, Cole told Dallas television station KDFW on Wednesday: "He knocked on the door, she let him in. After that, essentially what's been told to us was that there was a rape."

Police said the case was sent to prosecutors, who reviewed and accepted the complaint. The district attorney plans to present the case to a grand jury within the next three weeks, Geary said.

District Attorney John Vance, reached at home Wednesday evening, declined to comment on the case.

Asked if he knew the woman who accused him, Newton said: "I am not obligated to say whether I know her or not."

"Ya'll be kind to Big Nate," he told reporters at the Cowboys' training camp in Austin.

Newton, 35, is married with two children.

Shapiro said his client had a relationship with the woman and it ended around the time of the alleged incident.

"About three days after, this woman appeared in my office in Plano and asked for money to go away. She wanted money to go back to Louisiana and go to school," he said.

Shapiro declined to specify the amount, but "it was what we consider to be an outrageous sum of money. We refused to pay it. Then I received a letter from an attorney representing her, and that demand had increased tenfold."

Shapiro said the attorney, who he identified as Cole, said the woman would file a criminal complaint and a lawsuit if no settlement were reached.

"I told them that if she had been sexually assaulted, to go ahead and file a case," Shapiro said.

Cole then contacted the Cowboys organization and offered it a chance to negotiate a settlement, Shapiro said. He said he has turned over to prosecutors all correspondence from the woman and her attorney to himself, Newton and the Cowboys.

However, Cole told KDFW that the allegation was motivated by a desire for justice, not money. He said the woman recorded a conversation with Newton, "and to summarize, what Mr. Newton essentially said is, `I know where I went wrong - when you said no, I should have just stopped."'

Shapiro said he has heard the recording and believes it proves nothing.

The allegation against Newton comes less than two weeks after coach Barry Switzer was charged with a misdemeanor weapons count. On Aug. 4, security officers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport found a .38-caliber handgun in a bag he intended to carry aboard a flight to Austin.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones declined comment Wednesday on the accusation against Newton and Switzer said he didn't know anything about it.

Last December, wide receiver Michael Irvin and offensive tackle Erik Williams of the Cowboys were accused of sexual assault by a woman who later recanted the allegations. Nina Shahravan, who is still awaiting trial on a perjury charge, said Williams and another man raped her while Irvin held her at gunpoint. Prosecutors said Shahravan later recanted the allegations.


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