LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – Following a months-long investigation by the New Mexico Attorney General’s office, three former New Mexico State men’s basketball players were charged with multiple felony crimes on Thursday, including criminal sexual contact and false imprisonment, court records show.
Kim Aiken Jr., Doctor Bradley and Deshawndre Washington were all charged with the felonies in the New Mexico Third District Court in Las Cruces, following the Attorney General’s investigation. Bradley and Washington were each charged with 13 felonies, while Aiken Jr. was charged with 11 felonies.
Bradley and Washington were each charged with one count of second degree criminal sexual penetration (aided or abetted by another), five counts of fourth degree criminal sexual contact (aided or abetted by another), five counts of false imprisonment and one count each of conspiracy to commit criminal sexual contact (aided or abetted by another) and false imprisonment – conspiracy.
Aiken was charged with one count of second degree criminal sexual penetration (aided or abetted by another), five counts of false imprisonment, three counts of fourth degree criminal sexual contact (aided or abetted by another) and one count each of conspiracy to commit criminal sexual contact (aided or abetted by another) and false imprisonment – conspiracy.
The criminal charges stem from sexual assault and harassment allegations made by a host of their former teammates at New Mexico State during the scandal-ridden 2022-23 season under former head coach, Greg Heiar. The allegations resulted in Heiar’s firing and the season’s cancellation back in February.
It’s the first time criminal charges have been filed against anyone from the 2022-23 NMSU team, but it’s far from the first time that Aiken Jr., Bradley and Washington have been implicated in alleged wrongdoing. There are now two lawsuits accusing them of improper conduct, as well as an NMSU Title IX report obtained by KTSM that found the trio responsible of university sexual misconduct violations.
In June, NMSU agreed to pay an $8 million sexual assault and hazing lawsuit settlement to former players Deuce Benjamin, Shakiru Odunewu and Deuce’s father, William Benjamin, after NMSU’s 2022-23 season was cancelled and Heiar was fired when accusations of hazing, sexual assault and harassment surfaced in a New Mexico State University police report filing. Aiken Jr., Bradley, Washington and former coaches Heiar and Dominique Taylor were listed as defendants in that lawsuit, as was NMSU at-large.
Then, on Monday, a second lawsuit was filed by three completely different members of the 2022-23 NMSU team, in the hours before NMSU opened its 2023-24 season on the road at Kentucky. In the second lawsuit, former player Kyle Feit, another former player and a former manager who chose to remain anonymous made many of the same sexual assault allegations as Benjamin and Odunewu, but also alleged that guns were constantly present in the NMSU locker room last season. Washington is one of the players the lawsuit alleges brought guns in the locker room.
That second lawsuit was made against NMSU, Aiken Jr., Bradley, Washington, Heiar, Taylor and for the first time, current NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia was implicated, as he was named in the lawsuit. All other defendants in the second lawsuit are no longer associated with NMSU; Moccia was given five-year contract extension by NMSU in April.
Additionally, last week, an NMSU Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) report obtained by KTSM found the three former players – Aiken Jr., Bradley and Washington – responsible for three Title IX sexual misconduct violations, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, through a hazing process the trio called, “humbling,” documents show.
The OIE ruling stems from two separate cases, the first of which was reported to NMSU on Dec. 31, 2022, and pertained to a student associated with the men’s basketball program. The second report was made in February, 2023, and is related to the $8 million lawsuit settlement with the Benjamins and Odunewu.
The OIE report found that the conduct of the three players would have warranted expulsion from the university, had they still been enrolled upon being found responsible for three separate sexual misconduct violations. However, NMSU is unable to issue any punishment because they are no longer enrolled.
Despite the bevy of allegations, lawsuits, university Title IX reports and now criminal charges, Doctor Bradley is still currently listed on the roster of the Nicholl State (La.) basketball team for the 2023-24 season. He did not play in Nicholls’ season-opening loss to Tulane on Monday.
Multiple attempts by KTSM since August to contact Nicholls State regarding the university’s decision to add Bradley to men’s basketball team despite the allegations against him at NMSU have gone unanswered by Nicholls State officials.
Aiken Jr. and Washington are not playing college basketball this season and may still be pursuing professional careers. Heiar is now the head coach at Mineral Area College, a junior college in Missouri.
The investigation surrounding the sexual assault allegations and subsequent charges of Aiken Jr., Bradley and Washington was not the only scandal that rocked the NMSU program in Heiar’s lone season at NMSU in 2022-23.
In a completely separate incident on Nov., 19, 2022, a deadly shooting in Albuquerque left former NMSU forward Mike Peake injured and 19-year-old University of New Mexico student Brandon Travis dead.
Neither Peake, nor anyone affiliated with NMSU was charged with a crime related to the incident, because surveillance footage showed that he acted in self-defense.
According to police, Travis and fellow UNM students Jonathan Smith and Eli’Sha Upshaw allegedly wanted revenge against Peake for a fight at the Oct. 15, 2022, football game between UNM and NMSU in Las Cruces.
The three men lured Peake to UNM’s campus with the help of a 17-year-old female UNM student in the early morning hours of Nov. 19 – the same day NMSU and UNM were supposed to play the Battle of I-25 rivalry game at The Pit.
According to the girl’s statement to police, she told Peake she would have sex with him to get him to come to campus. Once he arrived, Smith, Travis, and Upshaw can be seen on surveillance footage running up behind Peake. Travis pulls a gun out and points it in Peake’s face and Upshaw assaults him with a baseball bat.
When Peake tried to run away, Travis chased after him; Peake then pulled out his own gun and the two exchanged fire. Police say Travis shot first and that Peake acted in self-defense; Travis was shot four times and died from his injuries, while Peake was shot once in the leg.
The three other UNM students were all arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including aggravated battery and conspiracy. Smith and the 17-year-old girl took plea deals in January and August, respectively, while Upshaw is currently awaiting trial after pleading guilty.