Kansas star RB Pooka Williams agrees to diversion in domestic violence case

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) runs against Oklahoma during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Kansas and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) — Kansas football star Pooka Williams has agreed to diversion in his domestic violence case, meaning he must fulfill certain requirements in order for his misdemeanor domestic battery charge to be dropped and to avoid court.

According to court documents, the Jayhawk running back and Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson signed a diversion agreement on Thursday. This is in regards to an incident from Dec. 5, 2018, when according to an affidavit obtained by the Kansas City Star and Lawrence Journal-World, a woman told a KU police officer on Dec. 6 that Williams punched her in the stomach and grabbed her by the throat.

The terms of the year-long diversion agreement for Williams include undergoing a domestic violence offender assessment by April 30. He agrees to follow all recommendations from that program. If there are none, he will then need to complete an anger management course by Nov. 30.

Williams must also perform a minimum of 40 hours of community service work by Nov. 30. This 12-month agreement also bars Williams from consuming alcohol or recreational drugs. He will submit to any drug test at the request of any law enforcement office, counselor or District Attorney.

Additionally, he is forbidden from contacting the victim in this case for the entirety of the agreement and must notify the District Attorney's Office of any official contact with any law enforcement agency while they're on-duty within 48 hours of that contact. That contact includes "being arrested, being interviewed as a suspect, witness, or victim to a case, being pulled over, being issued a ticket or notice to appear."

Williams was scheduled to appear in court on June 3. But with this agreement, Douglas County District Court Public Information Officer Cheryl Kunard-Wright said the office has filed a motion to stay prosecution of Williams. Once the judge in this case signs that motion, the court date will be removed from the court's calendar.

The Douglas County District Court's website describes the purpose of its diversion policy for domestic violence cases is "to deal more effectively with domestic violence cases. The Douglas County District Attorney's Office will aggressively prosecute incidents of domestic violence.

"The goal of this policy is to protect the victim, deter the offender from committing further acts of violence, and to raise community awareness of domestic violence."

The aforementioned affidavit, as reported by other outlets, describes that during the officer's interview of the victim, the officer noticed she had bruises on her arms and side. She also revealed text messages from Williams showing him admitting to punching her in the arms.

In a stipulation of facts signed by Williams and filed on Wednesday, he admitted to "knowingly" causing "physical contact" in a "rude, insulting or angry manner" with the victim after entering her friend's apartment. He stated he confronted the victim, whom he admitted to being in an intimate relationship with, by "grabbing her by the arms" during an argument.

Williams claimed this argument stemmed from the victim cheating on him. The stipulation states other people in the apartment separated Williams and the victim, resulting in Williams leaving the room and grabbing the victim by the wrist to get her to come out to the hall with him. Others in the apartment again separated them.

Eventually, Williams stated they both went out into the hall and continued to argue before he pushed her out out of the way and left.

Kansas head football coach Miles suspended Williams from all team-related activities on Dec. 7. He said he was "taking the allegations very seriously."

Kansas associate athletics director Jim Marchiony, in response to a request for comment from WIBW, said Williams is still suspended.

"Pooka remains suspended from all team-related activities at this time while the university continues to evaluate the Dec. 5 incident," Marchiony said. "We continue to take this matter very seriously."

Hatem Chahine, the attorney representing Williams in this case, declined to comment on this story.

As a freshman in 2018, Williams broke out as an explosive star for the Jayhawks. The Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year rushed for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns in his debut campaign.