‘He violated team rules’ Calipari said of the redshirt sophomore, who is currently suspended from all team activities.
Matt Stone, Courier Journal
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky student who allegedly accompanied a Kentucky basketball player to a party while armed with a gun is no longer enrolled in classes, a university spokesperson told Courier Journal.
Aaron Steele, 20, was scheduled to appear in court Thursday for arraignment on a misdemeanor assault charge after police said he struck a woman and threw her against a wall earlier this month. The hearing was delayed until March 23, and Steele’s attorney, Abe Mashni who appeared on his client’s behalf, was instructed to tell Steele to have no contact with the alleged victim.
Police observed “several bruises” on the victim’s arms and the victim complained of “pain over her whole body,” according to a police report
Steele remained a UK student after the school investigated whether he was armed at a party in January, Mashni told Courier Journal earlier this month.
Police: UK basketball player’s alleged bodyguard struck a woman, threw her against a wall
Background: Alleged Kentucky basketball player’s bodyguard charged with assault
Steele allegedly accompanied Kentucky basketball player Tai Wynyard, who has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari declined to provide details of Wynyard’s suspension following a Wildcats’ game earlier this month. Wynyard was previously ruled out for the season due to a back injury.
“He violated team rules,” Calipari said Feb. 6. “He has — the back. He is out because of a back, but he’s now been suspended because of violating team rules, and that’s all I’ll say.”
UK basketball spokesman Eric Lindsey has declined to comment on whether the suspension is related to the allegations.
The Kentucky Interfraternity Council met with fraternity and sorority presidents in January after Steele was said to be “protecting” Wynyard at a party, and sorority members used a group messaging app to warn each other and identify him.
The Group Me message circulated by sorority members in January stated: “there is a guy named Aaron Steel (sic) showing up to parties with the basketball player Tai Wynyard. He showed up last night to our rush party and … had a gun … said he was ‘protecting’ Wynyard. … If you go out tonight and see him DO NOT APPROACH HIM. Share this to EVERY SISTER.”
Following the report, Steele used his Twitter account to provide his side of the story, tweeting: “I was the alleged ‘bodyguard.’ Dean of students ruled my carrying gun was lawful under open carry laws and didn’t violate school policy.”
The tweet was deleted, and another tweet was sent later that said: “Do NOT believe what you see in the media. It is fake news. Any and all questions can be referred to my attorney…”
Attorney: University of Kentucky investigated claim of armed student with basketball player at party
Background: Armed student ‘protecting’ UK basketball player Tai Wynyard, fraternities and sororities warn
Steele provided contact information for Mashni, a Lexington-based attorney, when contacted by Courier Journal.
“My client is not a bodyguard, for Tai Wynyard or anyone else,” Mashni told Courier Journal in an email. “He’s a student and a kid. It’s important to remember we are talking about eighteen and nineteen-year-old kids. This issue was investigated by the University of Kentucky and no violations of student conduct were found. No criminal charges were filed. This is a non-story. We ask that you respect his privacy while he continues to work toward a degree.”
Citing student privacy laws, the University of Kentucky, through spokesman Jay Blanton, would not confirm the investigation took place.
UK, again citing student privacy laws, would not comment about Steele’s specific assault charges when contacted last week about potential disciplinary measures taken against students who are arrested for such crimes.
“In terms of the range of disciplinary measures, there is not one approach — or one set of measures — that apply,” Blanton said. “Each case is different. Each involves different circumstances and they are adjudicated with that in mind. The same is true for the path of a disciplinary proceeding. Some of it depends upon what the victim-survivor or accused does in terms of where they report and what path he or she wants to pursue.”
Fletcher Page: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @FletcherPage. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/fletcherp
See also: Tai Wynyard suspended from Kentucky basketball team until further notice
CatsHQ podcast: An inside look at the Tai Wynyard suspension story