LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – One day after the New Mexico State Board of Regents and five former members of the men’s basketball program were named in an explosive lawsuit, one former player took to social media to address the allegations.

Deshawndre Washington, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with the NMSU Regents, fellow former players Kim Aiken Jr. and Doctor Bradley, and former coaches Greg Heiar and Dominique Taylor, posted a statement to his public Instagram story, presumably about the accusations made against him and others in the lawsuit.

“Don’t always believe what you hear it’s always 2 sides to a story,” Washington wrote. “The truth always comes to the light positive vibes.”

Deshawndre Washington Instagram post

Washington, Aiken Jr. and Bradley and their coaches Heiar and Taylor are accused in the lawsuit by former teammates Deuce Benjamin, Shakiru Odunewu and Benjamin’s father, William Benjamin, of sexual assault, negligence, battery and false imprisonment.

The lawsuit alleges that the coaching staff were alerted about the allegations as early as Nov. 12, 2022, and did nothing to intervene. The alleged abuse began in the summer of 2022 and continued until February of 2023, according to the lawsuit.

NMSU’s 2022-23 season was cancelled, and Heiar fired after a police report was filed with NMSU police on Feb. 10 outlining some of the abuse.

Following the filing of the lawsuit, it remains unclear what may become of the five men named in the suit. As of Thursday, it’s unclear if Heiar and Taylor had found new coaching jobs since the scandals first came to light.

As for the players, Aiken Jr.’s plans are unclear at this time as well. Washington reportedly entered his name in the NBA Draft and is training in his hometown of Chicago.

Bradley, meanwhile, posted on social media last week that he had committed to Northern Illinois University to play for the Huskies during the 2023-24 season. However, it’s unclear if that will still be the case following the allegations in the lawsuit were made public on Wednesday.

KTSM has reached out to Northern Illinois twice since Wednesday to try to gain some clarity regarding Bradley’s status with the program, but thus far the university has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

KTSM has also reached out to all five men named as defendants in the suit – Aiken Jr., Bradley, Heiar, Taylor and Washington – seeking comment. As of Thursday, Bradley was the only player or coach to reply, referring KTSM to his lawyer, who has not been able to be reached.

NMSU provided KTSM with the following statement: “While NMSU does not comment on pending litigation, we want to assure everyone that this issue is being taken seriously. As we announced earlier this year, the university is working with Greenberg Traurig to look into these allegations. Their work is underway and running in parallel to our own internal investigation into this matter.”

No criminal charges have been filed in the case at this time, but it has been referred to the New Mexico Attorney General for possible criminal charges.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the scope of the lawsuit could grow depending on the ongoing investigations, both by law enforcement and the university itself.

“Under New Mexico law, when you sue an institution of higher learning that is a state school, you have to do it via suing the Board of Regents,” Benjamin family attorney Joleen K. Youngers told the Sun-News. “Is there potential that the lawsuit will change, will we learn more and we could name others or could change the claims? That is always the case. We are operating with the information and knowledge we have now.”

One incident outlined in the lawsuit alleges Deuce Benjamin was pulled into a hotel room during a road game with other players and some young women. Allegedly Washington told Deuce to “pull your a** out.” When he told them no, Washington allegedly said, “Do it, or I will grab your {expletive}” Deuce alleges Washington then forcefully grabbed his scrotum, inflicting pain and causing humiliation. The incident occurred in front of several women, which Deuce claims only exacerbated the feeling of degradation.

Odunewu also alleges a pattern of humiliation, violent behavior, and unwanted touch by the trio of players in the suit. During one incident in the Summer of 2022, Odunewu alleges Aiken Jr. and Bradley ripped the shower curtain back and forced him to spin around and do squats as they slapped his buttocks. The lawsuit alleges that Bradley filmed the incident on his cell phone.

In a separate incident during the bus ride to play UTEP in El Paso on November 12, 2022, Odunewu alleges Washington, Aiken Jr., and Bradley tackled him on the bus and pulled his pants and underwear down to his ankles. He claims he was held face down and could not speak or ask for help because the three held their hands over his mouth. He claims they continued to digitally sodomize him and grope his genitals.

The 28-page lawsuit also alleges a complete lack of institutional control by Coach Greg Heiar and Assistant Coach Dominique Taylor. In particular, Odunewu claims all NMSU coaching staff were on the bus at the time of the incident and failed to supervise players. In response to the alleged bus assault, one of the coaches turned around and yelled, “Stop playing around.”

The incident was reported to a former coach a few days after the incident. Odunewu claims he reported the incident to Heiar and Taylor, asking them to intervene, and claimed Taylor laughed and said, “What do you want me to do?”

Both Benjamin and Odunewu have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal; Benjamin was the latest to enter on Tuesday.

The lawsuit also alleges that there were at least two other victims that were unnamed in the suit, including one other player and one staff member. It also alleges that Heiar and Taylor were aware of prior inappropriate behavior by Aiken Jr. against other students, but does not specify what, exactly, that might be.

Aiken Jr. did not play in any games for NMSU during the 2022-23 season as Heiar and his staff worked to get him an eligibility waiver from the NCAA. As KTSM reported in February, the NCAA denied all waivers for Aiken Jr. and sources told KTSM throughout the process that Aiken Jr.’s eligibility waiver had more to do with his last school, Arizona, than the NCAA at large.

An open records request filed by KTSM with the University of Arizona in an attempt to access Aiken Jr.’s records was denied last month.

As for the plaintiffs in the suit – Deuce Benjamin, Shakiru Odunewu and Deuce’s father, Las Cruces High School basketball coach William Benjamin – it’s interesting that the elder Benjamin is a part of the lawsuit.

According to the court documents, it’s because of a damaged relationship with his son due to the alleged abuse perpetrated against Deuce by his former teammates. When reached for comment on Wednesday, William said his son is currently undergoing counseling for what happened.

“There’s good days and there’s bad days. The focus is trying to get Deuce back to feeling good about who he is and what he wants to do. He’s a strong cat, in the long run he’s going to be okay. But right now, it’s about getting him to that point,” Benjamin said.

The elder Benjamin starred for NMSU in the early 1990s and was inducted into the NMSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022. Benjamin told KTSM on Wednesday that his opinion of his alma mater had changed because of the incidents of the last few months. He said he hopes the lawsuit will help ensure the safety of future players.

“It’s just really disappointing that we have to talk about this and go through this,” Benjamin said. “I hope it brings awareness to the importance of this thing not happening. The behavior wasn’t right and we just don’t want to see this happen again to anybody.”