A 17-year-old basketball player for Edna Karr High School and two other men have been arrested and accused of gang-raping a woman in Algiers last summer.
Police allege that Dai’Jean Dixon, a forward for the Edna Karr team, along with Xenos Mcneely, 23, and Derrick Theriot, 18, were involved in the rape. Dixon was 16 at the time of the alleged incident but is being treated as an adult. He was arrested at the school Jan. 6.
The woman told investigators that she and a friend were visiting with a group of men in the 1300 block of Sumner Street about midnight July 13 when she was raped, according to an arrest warrant for Mcneely.
She told police that at some point during the night she became thirsty and asked for something to drink. When she went inside a residence, Mcneely covered her mouth and guided her to a rear room, according to the warrant.
There the victim, whose age is not specified, claims her pants were removed and she was sexually assaulted by Theriot, Dixon and Mcneely, the warrant says.
A police spokesman said phone records helped bolster the case against the defendants, although the nature of the records is not detailed in the warrant.
Dixon’s defense attorney, John Fuller, said the case is politically motivated and his client should never have been arrested. He called the unnamed woman a “serial accuser,” based on conversations he said he had with her acquaintances.
“She’s got a history of making these false accusations, these incredible accusations,” Fuller said. “She wants us to believe that despite her history of being attacked, she’s going to go into a house with three young men that she doesn’t know? That’s crazy.”
The rape was reported in July, according to a police offense log, and police obtained warrants for the defendants’ arrest Dec. 30.
Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble said the investigation was complicated by the statements made by the three suspects, which were in conflict with the victim’s statement.
“Several witness statements were gathered during the investigation. In addition, search warrants were executed to obtain phone records, which played a vital role in the investigation,” Gamble said.
Fuller said the time lag likely stemmed from detectives’ doubts over a weak case. He claimed that the house was full of other people at the time of the alleged assault. The warrant does not state whether others were present.
“If they believe that they have three violent rapists roaming New Orleans streets, they’re going to act as quickly as possible to have those violent rapists locked up,” Fuller said. “The reason that they elected to arrest these young men, despite the fact that the case is 100 percent baloney, is the political pressure to overhaul the Sex Crimes Unit at the NOPD.”
That unit has been under pressure to investigate sexual assaults more aggressively since a blistering November 2014 report from the city Inspector General’s Office.
Police arrested Dixon last week at the Edna Karr campus, a move Fuller claimed was meant to embarrass him. Fuller said his client was originally presented to a Juvenile Court judge but agreed to a move to Criminal District Court after the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion for a transfer to the adult court.
All three men have been booked on one count each of first-degree rape. Mcneely and Theriot are being held on $100,000 bail each, while Dixon was released on a $50,000 bail set by Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell on Tuesday.
Mceely has a bail reduction hearing set for Jan. 20. His attorney, David Capasso, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Theriot was represented by a public defender for his first appearance; a hearing to determine his counsel is set for Jan. 25.
Dixon was listed on the roster for an Edna Karr basketball game against Scotlandville on Tuesday night but did not play. School administrators did not return a request for comment about his status with the team.