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Posted on Sun, Jan 24, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

Former Michigan football player sentenced in assault case

By Art Aisner

A former University of Michigan football player accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a Pittsfield Township apartment was sentenced to probation, court records show.

James Whitley, 30, was ordered to serve one year of probation, undergo anger management counseling and complete 100 hours of community service.

Last month, he pleaded no contest to one count of aggravated assault, a misdemeanor, just before his trial on more serious sexual assault charges was to begin.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such at sentencing. Prosecutors dismissed the rape and habitual offender charges as part of the deal.

Whitley, a former Michigan cornerback, was arrested in July after a 31-year-old woman reported he sexually assaulted her in a friend’s apartment.

The woman said she went to sleep on an air mattress in the apartment and awoke while Whitley was sexually assaulting her.

Investigators said alcohol use by all parties involved was a major factor in the incident.
Whitley was living in Ann Arbor at the time but now resides in Georgia. His probation isn't permitted to transfer to Georgia, and he was ordered to report to local probation officers by phone, court officials said.

The Norfolk, Va., native was a team co-captain before his dismissal for carrying a concealed gun in Ann Arbor in 2000.

In that case, he was sentenced to one year of probation and 20 hours of community service after pleading guilty to the charge, court records show.

Art Aisner is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


T.Gold/Sean T.

Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 3:11 a.m.

Zulu & adameichner... That was refreshing to hear because I'm actually tired of hearing about who's school has the most criminals. I've been guilty in the past of poking a little fun but I realized that both schools represent our state and so I've stopped that ridiculous nonsense. Some of us have been downright silly with it!

Peter Eckstein

Sun, Jan 24, 2010 : 10:27 p.m.

It iS always interesting to read that someone "was sentenced," which begs the question of who sentenced him. If an actual judge did it, I hope he or she gave him a stern talking-to in addition to a year of probation--otherwise we might get the idea that rape isn't a serious crime.


Sun, Jan 24, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

Shame of all of you for making this incident a "football" contest. The issue of rape is a serious one with many varying viewpoints and should not be used to score points for either UM or MSU as to who has the most criminals on campus. This is an issue that many young men and women need a lot of education on because ones life, and in most cases its the male, can be destroyed based on one or the other side's interpretation of what happened during an encounter. What many males fail to understand is that the rules of dating and sexual engagement has changed dramatically and these young men need to have a clear understanding of those changes.


Sun, Jan 24, 2010 : 3:32 p.m.

Best part was, knowing, even before I clicked on story, that it would devolve into a "which university has more criminals" argument. Gents. Chill. I am a Spartan alum, and a U of M season ticket holder for football. Get a bit more complex. It isn't necessary to hate the other to like the one. And really, if you want to get down to brass tacks, what percentage of fellas in either school's football or basketball programs could actually get in to those schools on academic merit? ten? Its sad. These guys come from crazy inner city lives and are talented athletes. They are a blast to watch and root for. It is sad when these guys mess up, but what does counting the number of criminals from either school get you? A prize? Become adults. Realize it is oft times troubled young men who are gifted athletes (clearly not "true" students, playing a GAME. A game. Enjoy it, and learn to do so without all the anger. Trust me its much more fun that way.


Sun, Jan 24, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.

He'd probably get a wing at the football offices named after him if he went to State.