Former USU football player pleads not guilty to rape after judge binds him over for trial

LOGAN — A former Utah State football player has pleaded “not guilty” to raping a woman earlier this year. Lamar A. Dawson entered the plea after a judge ruled their was sufficient evidence to bind the 23-year-old over for trial.

Dawson appeared in 1st District Court for a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon. He was previously charged with rape, a first-degree felony.

The victim told the court how she originally met Dawson on a social media app. The two had a friendship for several months. On the evening of February 14, the two exchanged multiple text message, when Dawson was asked to returne a speaker to her. During the exchanges, the woman admitted several times to being very intoxicated after drinking half a bottle of vodka.

The victim testified that she could only remember portions of the rest of the night, including Dawson coming over to her apartment and watching TV in her bedroom. They began kissing and the next thing she remembered, he was allegedly raping her.

Later while being cross-examined by defense attorney Shannon Demler, the victim admitted that she might have consented to have sex that night but couldn’t remember.

Demler also referred to several text messages from the woman, asking the defendant if he was going to spend the night with her.

The police report states that when detectives spoke with Dawson, he first denied but later admitted to having sex. He said he lied about it previously because he was afraid the victim was trying to “pin” something on him.

During the hearing, Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray pointed to other text messages from the victim, stating that she wasn’t in the right frame of mind to agree to have sex.

Judge Thomas Willmore ruled that prosecutors had provided sufficient evidence but said there was questions whether the victim did consent. He said that would have to be resolved by a jury. He ordered Dawson to appear again in court February 3.

Dawson was a member of the USU football team last season as a red-shirt sophomore. He is no longer listed on the current team roster and is living in Chicago, Illinois.

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