October 25, 2005
Two Greenbrier student athletes accused of sex crimes are free on bond tonight. Reggie Rice and Shad Harris both had their first court appearance Tuesday morning in front of a packed courthouse and the flock of supporters.
A massive show of support for Shad Harris and Reggie Rice, both stars on the gridiron, now face charges of child molestation. But Candice Kobert, compelled to make signs, this green one reads “Free Reggie Rice.”
“We wanted to show our feelings for him and show everyone what we really think,” Kobert said.
Others lined up in support, too.
“We want to make sure justice is served. While we can’t condone sex before marriage in my profession anyway,” said Rev. Roscoe Perry, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.
“Shad grew up in this community and I’ve been here all my life, for 42 years. They are good boys, these are innocent boys, they are great boys and they get along with everybody,” said Becky Brickhouse.
But inside the courtroom a much different playing field. Judge Duncan Wheale, telling the crowd of mostly high-schoolers that this is not a pep rally and threatening to throw anyone with glitter support signs in jail.
Rice and Harris, trading green and gold football uniforms for orange sweats in the courtroom.
Harris is charged with child molestation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Rice is facing similar charges, but also has one rape charge against him. Judge Wheale set $5,000 bond for each, and ordered them not to talk about the case with anyone except family and lawyers. Wheale restricts them to trips to work, church and school.
“He’s been a great friend to me, always looking out for me, nothing but a great guy,” Kobert said.
District Attorney Danny Craig has a different take on things. He pushed early in Tuesday’s hearing for the judge not to release them on bond at all. Craig told the judge that Harris and Rice are the ones who brought alcohol to that party in a barn. And, Craig says, one of the alleged victims’ parents made the initial report to police.