California authorities have filed criminal charges against Nebraska running back Maurice Washington, who is suspected of possessing a video of his underage high school girlfriend being sexually assaulted by two other people and sending it to the girl less than a year ago.
Clarissa Hamilton, supervisor of the sexual assault unit in the Santa Clara County Attorney's Office in San Jose, California, said Washington faces two charges: a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress.
Hamilton said Washington was not present during the 2016 assault. She said the assault case was adjudicated in juvenile court and those records are sealed.
Washington obtained a video of the assault and sent it to the girl on March 2, 2018, Hamilton said, and the girl or her family contacted police shortly thereafter.
The Nebraska athletic department said the Nebraska Attorney General's office and university police notified athletic officials last fall that California authorities were interested in interviewing Washington.
"Details were not shared and there was no additional follow-up with the Nebraska Athletic Department," the statement said. "Recently, we were made aware that charges may be filed against Maurice in California. We have not had a chance to review the charges, and will continue to monitor this ongoing legal process."
John C. Ball, Washington's attorney, said his 19-year-old client would cooperate with authorities.
"The narrative put forth today is that Mr. Washington used a video as a weapon to re-victimize his former high school girlfriend. That is not true," Ball said. "Without a doubt, Mr. Washington had absolutely nothing to do with that sexual assault. The communications between these two young people are yet to be fully determined, and there are additional facts and circumstances that give context and perspective to this situation."
Hamilton said she decided to file charges Dec. 17 and is now waiting for a judge to sign a warrant for Washington's arrest. She said it typically takes two or three months for a warrant to be signed after charges of this type are filed. Once a warrant is signed, Washington would face extradition from Nebraska or he could return to California on his own and surrender to authorities.
Washington was a star at King's Academy in Sunnyvale, California, before he transferred to another school in nearby San Jose following his sophomore year. He later attended high school in Texas.
Washington was considered a top player in Nebraska's 2018 recruiting class, and he earned immediate playing time. He appeared in 11 games and started against Ohio State and Iowa. He finished with 455 yards rushing and 221 yards receiving. He also was Nebraska's top kick return man.