COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Suspended Missouri running back Derrick Washington was charged Monday with sexually assaulting a former tutor over the summer.
Assistant Boone County prosecutor Andrea Hayes says a single count of felony deviate sexual assault was filed against Washington, a senior from Raymore, Mo., and the Tigers' rushing leader the past two seasons.
Coach Gary Pinkel suspended Washington last week without disclosing details. Boone County court documents show Washington had been served with a protection order in late June and accused of sexual assault by a former Missouri tutor.
A July hearing was delayed at the woman's request and the case appeared dead after both Washington and the alleged victim failed to show up for the rescheduled hearing. But prosecutors continued to investigate and Washington's family has hired an attorney.
Washington's legal troubles didn't prevent him from being named one of four team captains in July while also getting a school-paid trip to Dallas for the Big 12 Conference's annual preseason media gathering.
Before the charge was announced, Pinkel said that he is "kind of embarrassed" by a series of off-field problems involving the Tigers.
"We've worked hard to develop and build a program that has a very good reputation of being first-class and disciplined," Pinkel said as Missouri prepared to open its season against Illinois on Saturday in St. Louis. "We've taken a few hits."
The latest occurred Sunday with the early morning arrest of reserve tight end and long snapper Beau Brinkley, who was charged by state troopers with driving while intoxicated. That came one week after reserve linebacker Will Ebner's arrest -- and several weeks after assistant coach Bruce Walker's arrest -- for possible drunken-driving violations. Ebner and Walker have not been charged but are scheduled to appear in court next month.
Asked if he could shed any light on Washington's suspension or the other cases, Pinkel demurred.
"For 10 years, I've never discussed anything (related to) discipline," he said.
School policy says that athletes charged with a felony cannot return to the field until the case is resolved.
Later Monday, speaking to more than 200 Missouri boosters in the Tiger Quarterback Club, Pinkel acknowledged that Washington would not play against Illinois, though he never mentioned the player by name. Instead, Pinkel named sophomore Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore as likely starters, with true freshmen Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy also expected to see playing time.
Missouri athletic director Mike Alden told the Columbia Daily Tribune over the weekend that he and Pinkel didn't receive "credible information" about the Washington case until several weeks ago. He suggested that not all details about the accusation against Washington have emerged publicly.
"Regardless of the timing of when this stuff happened, shoot, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is aware of what's taken place," Alden told the Tribune.
Missouri did receive a welcome dose of good news over the weekend. Senior cornerback Munir Prince was released from the hospital after a frightening collision with a teammate on a punt return the same day as Washington's suspension.
He was initially diagnosed with transient quadriplegia, a temporary loss of sensation and movement in the arms and legs, but by Saturday was reported to be walking on his own. By Sunday, Prince had returned to practice, Pinkel said.
At the booster meeting, Alden offered strong support for Pinkel, calling him a "man of integrity." And Pinkel told the fans that he takes responsibility for the program's recent missteps.
"The buck stops here with me," Pinkel said. "I am embarrassed, and disappointed. Hopefully we can get this cleaned up."
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)