Former Maryland basketball player Travis Garrison received probation before judgment on a second-degree assault charge and pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree sex offense yesterday in Prince George's County District Court. Both charges stemmed from an altercation with a young woman at a College Park bar in October.
Garrison pleaded guilty to both offenses, but after hearing testimony from witnesses, Judge Joseph Brown struck the guilty plea for the assault charge in favor of probation before judgment.
Brown sentenced Garrison to 100 hours of community service to be served within six months, placed him under two years of probation (one supervised) and ordered him to spend at least 10 hours lecturing for the Maryland athletic department "about the perils of athletes doing these kinds of acts."
Garrison was charged with grabbing the buttocks of a woman three times against her objections and striking her in the face with his hand at the Cornerstone Grill and Loft around 1:15 a.m. Oct. 27.
The judge did not grant probation before judgment for the sex offense charge at the urging of Garrison's counsel, Stephen L. Miles, for that would have prevented an appeal. Garrison was sentenced to 60 days in a correctional facility, of which all but 10 were suspended, but he appealed the decision to circuit court.
Garrison was to serve the 10 days over five weekends and be forced to register as a sex offender, but an appeal will probably not be heard for two to three months, State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said. Even a probation-before-judgment ruling on the sex offense would have forced Garrison to register as a sex offender.
"I was pleased with this result, and I think the young woman was pleased as well," Ivey added.
The victim declined to comment, as did Garrison's defense attorney.
Garrison, a 6-foot-8 Suitland native who was a McDonald's All-American at DeMatha, averaged 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in his senior season with Maryland. His agent, Max J. Etienne, said four or five professional teams have been in contact with Garrison.