University of Kansas

KU players Josh Jackson, Lagerald Vick are persons of interest in vandalism investigation

KU basketball players Josh Jackson (left) and Lagerald Vick
KU basketball players Josh Jackson (left) and Lagerald Vick The Kansas City Star

Two University of Kansas men’s basketball players are persons of interest in a Lawrence police investigation into the vandalism of a car in early December, multiple sources have told The Kansas City Star.

The players of interest in the case are Josh Jackson and Lagerald Vick. Investigators have recently interviewed several people who witnessed the reported crime, which occurred in the early morning hours of Dec. 9 outside a bar. A police report categorizes the $2,991 in damage to the car as a felony.

Police were called to a parking lot near the Yacht Club on Wisconsin Street just before 2 a.m., according to the report. Officers spoke with the victim, who is the same female student a KU investigation found Vick likely hit in the arm multiple times and kicked in the face in late 2015. A phone number for that student has been disconnected and an attorney for the family has not returned multiple phone calls for comment.

Lawrence police have not named suspects in the vandalism. Officers are still investigating, and continue to add information to the initial report, even as late as Wednesday. Police only released the first page of the report.

The Star sent an email with several questions regarding the reported vandalism and the players as persons of interest to Jim Marchiony, KU’s associate athletic director for public affairs.

“We are aware of the incident,” Marchiony replied. “And we are aware of the investigation.”

Marchiony referred a question about whether the university has investigated the reported vandalism, or will, to the school’s public affairs office. The university can investigate possible violations of the student conduct code even when they occur off campus.

Joe Monaco, director of strategic communications for KU’s public affairs office, said if The Star had specific questions about “that investigation,” referring to the vandalism, it would need to contact Lawrence police. Monaco said he could not address a possible university investigation, or say whether the school’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access was involved.

“Due to federal law, and to protect the rights of all individuals involved, the university does not confirm or deny IOA investigations,” he wrote in an emailed response.

The Star left a voice message for KU basketball coach Bill Self and it was not immediately returned.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Amy Rhoads said she didn’t know when the investigation would be completed.

“If charges are going to be filed, an affidavit for charges will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office,” she said Thursday. Damage over $1,500 is considered a felony, Rhoads said.

Jackson, 19, is a freshman from Detroit who came to KU last fall as the nation’s top-ranked high school recruit and is the team’s second-leading scorer. Vick, 20, is a sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., who is one of KU’s top reserves.

The off-campus vandalism investigation is the latest incident involving KU men’s basketball players to recently come to light.

Earlier this week, The Star reported that KU investigated Vick a year ago for domestic violence. According to information obtained by the newspaper, the office of IOA determined in January 2016 that Vick likely struck the female student multiple times.

KU head basketball coach Bill Self read a prepared statement regarding sophomore guard Lagerald Vick during his postgame press conference Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

University investigations use preponderance of evidence standards — which means the matter in dispute is more likely than not to be true — to determine if violations of school policy occurred. It is not known if a report was filed with campus police but Vick has not been charged with a crime.

The office of IOA recommended Vick be put on school probation for two years. It is not clear whether Vick was put on probation or, if he was, if he is still on it.

In general, university officials said probation, which is imposed by KU Student Affairs, is meant to be rehabilitative and not punitive for the student.

So while it could mean suspension of some privileges, it could also require a student to participate in a counseling session.

But what privileges a student on probation might lose, if any at all, “depends on the individual case,” said Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, a university spokeswoman.

According to university rules, students who violate probation could end up with an administrative hold placed on their university account and additional sanctions could be added.

Another player on the men’s team is also facing scrutiny in separate incidents.

Sophomore Carlton Bragg remains indefinitely suspended from competition by Self for an undisclosed team rules violation.

Bragg was charged in City of Lawrence Municipal Court with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, but on Wednesday reached a diversion agreement that would expunge the charge. KU police seized two glass smoking devices with residue in a search days after a reported rape of a 16-year-old girl in December at McCarthy Hall, where the men’s basketball team and other male students live. Police said there was “no indication that the drug paraphernalia is related to the sexual assault case.”

KU police are still investigating the reported rape and two other crimes — contributing to a child’s misconduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Police have not released any information about a suspect in those three offenses, including whether the suspect resides at McCarthy or attends KU.

Also, Bragg was twice accused of battery against two different women last fall with neither case resulting in charges. In a September case brought to light last week, prosecutors did not charge Bragg because of insufficient evidence after reviewing a police report from McCarthy Hall.

Three months later, Bragg was suspended by Self on Dec. 9 before prosecutors dismissed another case against him and charged the woman who had accused Bragg, Saleeha Soofi, with battery. She pleaded not guilty last week in her first court appearance.

Laura Bauer: 816-234-4944, @kclaurab

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc