Mateen Cleaves went to his arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault and other charges were thrown against him and aired his side on social media stating that the events have “devastated” his family from the false accusations.
TMZ reported that Cleaves is being charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration and two counts of criminal sexual conduct. If proven guilty, Cleaves is looking at a lifetime in prison, but his lawyers are calling all the charges “outrageous” and “false.” After giving his plea, Cleaves also paid a bond of $150,000 and promised to come before the court in the coming hearings.
The 38-year old Cleaves led then the three-time captain that led Michigan State Spartans to the 2000 National Championships in the NCAA Tournament and was named as the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. He was also drafted by the Detroit Pistons during the 2000 NBA Draft.
Aside from the Pistons, Cleaves also played for the Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle Supersonics. He also had stints in the NBA’s D-League having played for the Huntsville Flight, Fayetteville Patriots and Bakersfield Jam. Cleaves also had a stint overseas, playing for UNICS Kazan in Russia and Panionios in Greece.
On the other hand, ABCnews reported that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy was not pleased with how the court handled the arraignment as it was done without their knowledge and is asking for an explanation from Judge M. Cathy Dowd.
“I don’t know how they do things in Genesee County, but we try our best to be as transparent as possible when my office is involved. There was an agreement with all of the parties that the defendant would turn himself in and be arraigned in open court (Thursday) — not for him to have a back door arraignment,” Worthy said.
First Coast news obtained a press release from Worthy’s office giving details of what transpired on Sept. 14 as the statement from the 24-year old woman victim, her boyfriend and several co-workers.
It stated that the victim’s group was at a Flint-area charity golf outing and then decided later to look at a local bar. The victim narrated that after leaving the bar, her boyfriend gave a friend a ride home. She also stated that she believed she was returning to the golf club in Cleaves’ car, but instead was taken allegedly by Cleaves to a Mundy Township Motel where she was allegedly sexually assaulted.
The victim further stated that she managed to escape and was helped by another woman from a nearby room and then reported the said incident.
“The evidence, in this case, will show that the alleged actions of this defendant were not only criminal but arose out of a sense of entitlement sometimes found in prominent people,” Worthy explained.
The case is being tried in Genesee County court, but the Wayne County prosecutor is handling it because of a possible conflict of interest by Genesee County prosecutors and a potential witness.
Cleaves also went to social media to air his sentiments and posted that the charges have “devastated” his family and arguing that he is innocent of the crime.
“My Family and I are devastated by these false charges. I am INNOCENT and the allegations are without merit. We truly appreciate your continued support,” Cleaves stated.
Cleaves retired from professional basketball and in March 14, 2010, joined Fox Sports Detroit as a Detroit Pistons studio analyst. In addition, Cleaves has branched out also into music as an owner of the record label All Varsity Entertainment.
Photo Courtesy: Mateen Cleaves @Mateen_Cleaves/Twitter