Trouble for Theodore?
A criminal complaint of unlawful weapons possession on school property has been filed against junior Jordan Theodore, the starting point guard of the men’s basketball team, according to multiple reports.
But, according to Dr. Laura Wankel, vice president of Student Affairs, he is not in violation of University policy.
“The University has conducted an investigation into this matter and found no student in violation of University policy,” Wankel said in a statement on Wednesday night. “The University takes seriously any report that potentially threatens the safety and well-being of our community.”
Karen Van Norman, associate vice president and dean of students, said any potential University policy violations are handled by the University overall, not just the Athletic Department.
“In my tenure, I’ve had full cooperation with Athletics and the student-athletes in that they are students and have the same standards as all other students,” Van Norman said.
The criminal complaint, first reported by SNY.tv, was sent to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office from Maplewood/South Orange municipal court, according to Katherine Carter, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.
“To my understanding, there was probable cause found in municipal court,” Carter told The Setonian. “The judge found sufficient evidence for probable cause to sustain a complaint.”
Carter added that she did not have details where the incident in question happened.
The SNY report said the incident occurred after Theodore’s mother, Carol Theodore, was allegedly attacked by a family member of senior Keon Lawrence on Feb. 15 in the stands at a home basketball game at Prudential Center.
The alleged attack reportedly involved Tiffany Accor, the partner of Lawrence’s mother Darlene Epps, and Carol Theodore.
Lawrence was removed from the Pirates’ roster just three days before the game by team head coach Kevin Willard for conduct reasons. He attended the Feb. 15 game, a loss to Villanova, sitting in the Prudential Center stands near the student section.
Later during the night of the game, a fire alarm prompted an evacuation of Xavier Hall, where both Theodore and Lawrence reside on campus.
Following the evacuation, Theodore was seen inside the residence hall director’s office with South Orange Police officers and Dan McHale, an assistant coach with the team.
Matt Sweeney of Athletics Communications told The Setonian by text message that no comments from Athletics would be made on Wednesday night.
In municipal court, Epps said that Theodore and two others approached Lawrence’s Xavier Hall room after the game, according to the SNY report. Epps added that she drove to campus and saw the incident herself.
But in explaining that the altercation had moved to the Xavier Hall parking lot and involved a handgun, Epps’ testimony was questioned by the judge.
“I find your testimony to be highly suspect today,” municipal court judge Jonathan Rosenbluth told Epps, according to the SNY report.
The SNY story also says that Epps filed four complaints against Theodore but only the weapons possession charge was found to have probable cause by Rosenbluth.
Carter told SNY.tv that the complaint “is a third degree offense; if found guilty of the charge, the maximum exposure would be five years incarceration in state prison.”
In her interview with The Setonian, she added that she “was not sure how long it will take” for the prosecutor’s office to review the complaint.
Brian Wisowaty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.