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TallySaint 12-29-2005 03:18 PM

FSU Suspends LB Nicholson - Rape Allegation
FSU suspends Nicholson; police investigating rape allegation

By Steve Ellis
Tallahassee Democrat Staff Writer

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Florida State suspended linebacker A.J. Nicholson Thursday after an alleged overnight incident at the team hotel in Hollywood. Head coach Bobby Bowden said the senior will not play in Tuesday's Orange Bowl Game against Penn State.

"A.J. will be sent home and suspended from this ballgame for violating a team rule and policy. That's about all I will say about it," said Bowden.

Hollywood police are investigating an allegation that an FSU player sexually assaulted a woman at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.

"Around 3 o'clock in the morning we received a phone call froma 19-year-old female. She called (to report) that allegedly she had been sexually assaulted by a player from FSU. He was later identified as A.J. Nicholson," said Hollywood Police Det. Carlos Negron. "He has been cooperative with the detectives. He came here, gave a statement, and he was released."

Nicholson spent a couple of hours at the Hollywood Police Department and left about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Negron said Nicholson was given permission to leave town and stated there would be no immediate arrest in the case. He said detectives are still conducting interviews and seeking any potential witnesses.

"(The investigation) is going to take a while. If we need him, we'll call him," said Negron. "It could be days, weeks or months."

The alleged victim was taken to the Rape/Assault Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale, according to Negron.

Negron confirmed that if a charge was filed it likely would be for sexual battery. He said that the earliest evidence would be presented to the state attorney's office would be Tuesday.

Nicholson's status during the preseason was uncertain because of two earlier incidents. He pleaded no contest this summer to a DUI charge that dated back to February, and a June charge of resisting arrest was dropped by the state attorney's office.

Buster Davis will move to Nicholson's right-side linebacker spot and Sam McGrew will start at middle linebacker. Derrick Nicholson, A.J.'s younger brother, is expected to back up McGrew.

Originally published December 29, 2005

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