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District Attorney declines to charge Oklahoma's Frank Shannon with sexual assault, still could face university discipline

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday

Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon, the team’s leading tackler last season, has been accused of sexually assaulting a female student, but prosecutors decided not to file charges against him, according to The Oklahoman.

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said Thursday that no charges were filed “based on the woman’s wishes at the time and based on the facts that were presented.”

Per the Oklahoman:

(Mashburn) explained the woman said she did not want Shannon prosecuted. He also said it was unclear from the accounts of both the woman and the player "what had actually taken place."

However, a Title IX sexual misconduct allegation report obtained by the Oklahoman said that Shannon was accused of “attempting to forcibly have sex with a woman in his bedroom after the two left a party together” on Jan. 20.

Despite no charges against Shannon being filed, he still faces discipline from the university. Under Title IX, any sexual harassment claim that the university is aware of must be reported. When reached by The Oklahoman, an employee of the OU Sexual Misconduct Office said that when the office receives a complaint, they conduct an investigation of the incident that is “independent of any criminal investigation.”

If it is determined that a violation of the university’s “Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy” occurred, the investigation is turned over to the student conduct office which then meets with the accused student and ultimately recommends disciplinary action.

That disciplinary action is subject to appeal, and the paper reported that Shannon’s status with the school “will be determined through an appeals process.”

The Oklahoman reported Wednesday that Shannon had not been practicing with the team and did not play in the spring game. Head coach Bob Stoops said that Shannon was away from the team to deal with “personal issues.”

Shannon led the Sooners with 92 total tackles last season. He also registered seven tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception. 

Former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons was expelled from the school after a similar incident. Gibbons never faced criminal charges for an alleged 2009 sexual assault, but was expelled for violating Michigan’s sexual misconduct policies more than three years later.

Similarly, Florida State’s Chris Casher and Ronald Darby – the two witnesses in the Jameis Winston sexual assault case – are reportedly facing discipline for similar Title IX violations of FSU’s code of conduct.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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