LAS CRUCES, N.M. — May 15, 2023 — Two former New Mexico State University men’s basketball players have filed a lawsuit in the Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces [D-307-CV-2023-00911] against the university and athletic department, alleging they were sexually assaulted by teammates and that the coaching staff and other administrators did nothing when they reported the assaults.
According to the lawsuit, Benjamin and Odunewu were subjected to “severe and pervasive sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation” by their teammates. The lawsuit also alleges that the coaching staff and other administrators were aware of the assaults but failed to take any action to stop them. The lawsuit names the university, head coach Chris Jans, former assistant coach Lou Gudino, and former athletic director Mario Moccia as defendants.
“Deuce and Shak are incredibly brave for coming forward and sharing their stories,” says attorney Ramez Shamieh of Texas-based Shamieh Law, who is serving as co-counsel on the case. “It takes a lot of courage to speak out against powerful institutions like universities and athletic programs. We are committed to holding the university and its officials accountable for their failure to protect these young men.“
The lawsuit seeks damages for the harm caused to Benjamin and Odunewu, as well as changes to the university’s policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
New Mexico State University has not yet commented on the litigation.