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Gongbay makes his initial court appearance

Suspended Lobo football running back Crusoe Gongbay made his initial court appearance in Metro Court Chief Judge Julie Altwies' courtroom Wednesday afternoon. He is charged with kidnapping and rape. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)
Suspended Lobo football running back Crusoe Gongbay made his initial court appearance in Metro Court Chief Judge Julie Altwies' courtroom Wednesday afternoon. He is charged with kidnapping and rape. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)
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Crusoe Gongbay, like many other students, will get to go home after he’s done with final exams next month at the University of New Mexico.

Unlike those others, he must return in three weeks to face charges of rape and kidnapping.

Metropolitan Court Chief Judge Julie Altwies authorized travel home to Maryland for Gongbay, a UNM football player who was arrested Monday. He has been suspended from the team indefinitely by coach Bob Davie.

Gongbay, 20, on Wednesday made his first appearance in court. The UNM running back, dressed in black slacks and a blue-and-white cardigan sweater over a plaid shirt with a bow tie, spoke only once in court – indicating he understood Altwies’ orders and conditions.

He did not answer questions from the news media afterward. Robert Cooper, Gongbay’s attorney, said he had advised his client not to speak.

“(Gongbay) stands here today presumed innocent,” Cooper said. “He looks forward to a speedy and positive resolution.”

Altwies granted Gongbay’s request to spend three weeks in Maryland after his last final exam of the semester, scheduled May 8. The judge continued Gongbay’s bond at $50,000. She ordered him not to have contact with the woman he is accused of assaulting, nor with co-defendant Ryan Ruff or a third suspect in the alleged attack, when and if that person is identified.

Gongbay is not to travel outside the United States and must be reachable at all times. He is to avoid alcohol, drugs and firearms.

Suspended Lobo football running back Crusoe Gongbay, left, is accompanied by his attorney Robert Cooper during his initial court appearance in Metro Court on Wednesday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Suspended Lobo football running back Crusoe Gongbay, left, is accompanied by his attorney Robert Cooper during his initial court appearance in Metro Court on Wednesday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Cooper, in requesting that Gongbay be allowed to travel outside New Mexico, noted that Gongbay had no prior criminal history, turned himself in and has cooperated with authorities since his arrest. Gongbay has provided a DNA sample for purposes of his identification in the alleged attack, Cooper said.

Early on the morning of April 13, according to a criminal complaint, Gongbay and an unidentified man raped a woman in a moving car while Ruff drove.

Later, police said, Ruff dropped off the other two men at an undisclosed location and drove the woman to the UNM campus, where he raped her at gunpoint.

Ruff then released her, according to the complaint.

Gongbay turned himself in to UNM police Monday, then was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center early Tuesday. He was released on bond later that morning.

Ruff, 21, remained at the MDC on Wednesday on $100,000 bond. He made his initial appearance in court Tuesday, at which time Altwies denied his request that his bond be lowered.

Gongbay came to UNM in 2011 and led the Lobos in rushing that season as a true freshman. When plans to transfer to Maryland fell through, he returned to the Lobos and played well the past two seasons as a backup running back and a special teams player.

He had been projected to be the Lobos’ starting running back this fall and was considered a team leader.

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