University of Utah football player arrested for allegedly raping 17-year-old girl

(photo courtesy Salt Lake County Jail) Terrell Perriman

A University of Utah football player has been arrested after police say he kidnapped and raped a 17-year-old girl.

Terrell Perriman, a 20-year-old wide receiver for the team, was booked into the Salt Lake County jail Thursday morning.

A statement describing the probable cause for his arrest alleges that he met the girl on Instagram and then the two connected on Snapchat. The teenager told police, according to court documents, that Perriman pressured her to send him nude photos and that he sent her several sexually graphic videos and a picture.

The girl met Perriman at his Salt Lake City apartment on Friday, where she said he trapped her in his room and wouldn’t let her leave. She told police she was afraid after she saw that Perriman had a Taser.

She asked him if she could go, according to the statement, and he said only after she had sexual contact with him. She told him she didn’t want to and that she was only 17. Perriman allegedly blocked the door, took her cellphone and covered her mouth while she screamed.

“The suspect caught her attempting to leave and physically forced her back into the room," the probable cause statement reads.

The girl said he then pulled his pants down and forced her out of her shorts and raped her, court documents said.

Perriman was arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping, enticing a minor by internet or text and dealing in material harmful to a minor. He has not been charged.

Salt Lake City police Detective Greg Wilking said police have “some indication" there could be other victims and urged individuals to come forward. “Often in these kinds of cases, there’s not just one victim,” he added. "This is behavior that’s repeated.”

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City police Detective Greg Wilking holds a press conference after the arrest of Terrell Perriman at police headquarters, Jan. 30, 2020.

The detective said there was “no indication,” though, that Perriman was “targeting underage girls.” He added: “She just happened to be 17.”

Wilking also said it’s unclear how long the girl was allegedly held or how she got away.

U. football coach Kyle Whittingham released a statement on the arrest Thursday, saying he is aware of the “very serious allegations.” Whittingham said that Perriman was immediately suspended from the team.

“Obviously, this does not reflect the values and standards of our program and we will continue to monitor the situation as it moves through the legal process," he said. "We are cooperating with the authorities and university personnel and will continue to assist as requested. Due to the ongoing legal proceedings, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

A three-star recruit out of Miami Central High School, Perriman took a redshirt in 2018, then played in 10 games in 2019, including six on offense.

He had two catches for nine yards for the 11-3 Utes. Perriman was expected to compete for a starting or backup role in 2020 as a redshirt sophomore.

The University of Utah requires all students to take online training modules on sexual assault when they enroll. Student athletes must additionally participate in the training every year.

The school’s Athletic Director Mark Harlan issued a statement later Thursday, adding that the U. “will continue to educate our students athletes on appropriate conduct, decision-making and consent.”

He continued: “We have more than 500 student athletes who proudly and deservedly represent the University of Utah with character, integrity and kindness, and we will not allow the alleged actions of anyone to define who we are and what we are about.”

U. President Ruth Watkins tweeted her thoughts, too, and encouraged students to reach out to campus resources, if needed, including the University Counseling Center at 801-581-6826 and victim-survivor advocates at 801-581-7776.

She added: “My heart goes out to the victim, whose care and wellbeing is foremost in our thoughts, and others affected by this. ... There is no place for sexual violence in our community and when they involve members of our campus we will continue to move quickly and decisively to address issues and incidents as they are reported and brought to our attention."

Wilking said that Salt Lake City police are handling the case, but added that “we are in partnership with” University of Utah police.

Tribune reporters Josh Newman and Scott D. Pierce contributed to this story.