The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.
Overton arrested for allegedly promoting prostitution
Posted by John de Leon
-- From Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan:
Former University of Washington basketball player Venoy Overton has been arrested for investigation of second-degree promoting prostitution, according to Kent police.
Overton was arrested Thursday in South Seattle. Police had probable cause to arrest Overton, who has not been charged with the felony offense, according to a source.
According to a news release, police detectives began their investigation of Overton in May, when undercover officers contacted an 18-year-old woman on Pacific Highway South. Officers learned that she had been brought to the area by her boyfriend, who directed her to perform acts of prostitution, the release said. She identified her boyfriend as Overton, according to police.
The woman also told officers that she had been given specific instructions of what sex acts to perform and what to charge, and had given a portion of the money she received to Overton, the release said. The woman further disclosed that she had been brought to the area to prostitute on two other occasions.
"This investigation and arrest highlights the need to continue to aggressively investigate and enforce the laws regarding human trafficking offenses" Kent police Lt. Pat Lowery said in the news release.
Overton is now being held at the Kent Corrections Center and is likely to appear before a judge on Friday.
Overton graduated earlier this month from the UW.
The arrest is Overton's second run-in with the law this year. He was charged March 8 with supplying alcohol to a minor, a gross misdemeanor, in connection with an incident involving two 16-year-old girls he met online.
In that incident, Seattle police said Overton met with the two girls on Jan. 8 and took them to his sister's apartment in South Seattle. Police said Overton, 22, furnished the girls with alcohol and had sex with both.
Police launched an investigation after one of the girls told police she felt pressured to have sex with Overton because he was a UW basketball player.
King County prosecutors declined to file charges against him in connection with the alleged sex acts, citing the age of consent, which in Washington is 16, questions about the girl's account and contradictory statements from witnesses.
Overton was granted a dispositional continuance in Seattle Municipal Court in March, in which the City Attorney's Office agreed it would dismiss the gross misdemeanor charge if he avoided new criminal charges for a year and completed 24 hours of community service in the next two months.
Overton did not plead guilty, but as a condition of the continuance he gave up his right to a trial. According to the agreement, if he violates the terms of the continuance, a judge will render a verdict against him based solely on the police report. His arrest in Kent could jeopardize that agreement.
Overton could have faced up to one year in jail on the charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor, according to the City Attorney's Office.
Following the Jan 8 incident, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar suspended Overton for the Pac-10 Conference tournament, but allowed him to play in the NCAA tournament. The Huskies' season -- and Overton's college career -- ended with a March 20 tournament loss to North Carolina.
After his suspension, Overton told The Seattle Times he had learned his lesson.
On Thursday, Romar issued the following statement through the UW: "I have been informed of the arrest of Venoy Overton and I am extremely disappointed. My staff and I spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy attempting to mentor Venoy prior to his recent graduation, so this news is especially troubling."