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Two AWC athletes jailed following assaults
Sexual allegations also arise from incident that leads to football coach's resignation
A pair of Arizona Western College student-athletes found themselves in jail and a Matadors assistant football coach lost his job amid sexual allegations following a series of assaults that occurred Monday evening at the AWC residence halls.
AWC sophomore basketball player Katrina Johnson, 20, and former Matador All-American volleyball player Patty Paniagua, 19, were arrested Tuesday and booked into the Yuma County Detention Center for assault and disorderly conduct, according to Michelle Sims, AWC public relations and marketing director.
"The charges against both females were misdemeanor in nature," AWC police chief John Edmundson said during an on-campus news conference Thursday.
"They were booked in the county jail and spent the night there before being seen by the judge Tuesday morning, at which time both were released from custody by the court."
The arrests were the result of a series of assaults that occurred on campus at the AWC residence halls on Monday evening involving the two student-athletes, as well as several other students. One female student was taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center for treatment of bumps and bruises, while another declined any further treatment from paramedics the night of the attacks, Edmundson said.
During the investigation of the incident by AWC officials, it was also discovered that AWC assistant football coach David Slaughter had engaged in a sexual relationship with one of the student-athletes arrested in the assault.
Slaughter, who was in his first year as the wide receivers coach, admitted the relationship with the student-athlete when confronted by the AWC administration and immediately offered his resignation to the school on Tuesday, Sims said.
"This was probably our biggest disturbance in the last two or three years," Edmundson said. "During the criminal investigation of the assaults that took place, (Slaughter's) name surfaced in the interview process."
Paniagua, an NJCAA Second Team All-American who has signed on to play volleyball at Division I University of Alabama-Birmingham next season, earned First Team All-Region I and First Team All-ACCAC honors as a sophomore at AWC, while also being named the 2007-08 ACCAC Player of the Year.
Johnson redshirted this season with an injury after being named All-ACCAC as a freshman in 2006-07 with the Matadors women's basketball program. Her remaining year of eligibility and scholarship within the program will be reviewed.
"I think the easiest thing for us to do on her is just to tell her not to come back," AWC athletic director Jerry Smith said. "But I don't know if that is the right thing to do yet or not. In every incident, there's a time where it's a breaking point and you just have to make a judgement where that is.
"She's an outstanding young lady and just made a mistake, just like Slaughter. He was a great guy and a big asset around here who just made a mistake. He's not the first guy to make a mistake with women, but that's just something we cannot tolerate around here."