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Temple football pair avoid trial on 2015 assault charges

Temple seniors Haason Reddick and Dion Dawkins, who had faced felony aggravated assault and conspiracy charges and related misdemeanor charges in connection with an off-campus fight, have avoided a trial and agreed to be placed in a diversionary program, Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).

"If they don't get in trouble in an agreed-upon period of time, their records will be expunged," said James Funt, attorney for Dawkins.

On Sept. 7, Dawkins and Reddick will return to court, where the terms of the program will be outlined. Dawkins is an offensive tackle; Reddick, a defensive end.

"I am very relieved this is done," said Reddick, an honorable-mention all-American Athletic Conference selection.

Dawkins, who starts at left tackle, agreed. "I am glad this is over with," he said outside the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Charles Ehrlich.

The two had faced charges in connection with a fight at a Philadelphia nightclub on Jan. 18, 2015. Both were accused of seriously injuring Benjamin Wood, 21, another Temple student.

In June 2015, Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos reversed an April 2015 ruling that had dismissed all charges against Reddick and most charges against Dawkins.

In March 2015, Temple suspended both players from the football program but three months later, the Temple Student Conduct Board found that Reddick and Dawkins were not responsible for the alleged actions and were again free to engage in football activites.

Funt and Reddick's attorney, Matt Hagarty, released a joint statement that said, in part:

"Nearly 18 months ago, a dark cloud gathered around our clients, Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick, two outstanding, hardworking young men with bright futures and no criminal past, when they were misidentified as the assailants  in an assault on a fellow Temple student. Today, that cloud of unwarranted suspicion has finally been lifted.

"Today, the District Attorney's office has graciously offered, and our clients have accepted, the opportunity to enter into a diversionary program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), a program typically reserved for non-violent incidents.

"Our clients have maintained their innocence since the start of this ordeal and continue to do so. And while we are confident that had the case gone to trial, independent witnesses would have established their innocence, this result represents a fair resolution for both sides to put the matter behind them."

"Acceptance of the government's offer does not suggest a scintilla of criminal culpability. Rather, it merely demonstrates the issues present in the commonwealth's case while simultaneously recognizing the unpredictability of jury trials."