No charges to be filed after Oregon rape allegation
MAY 06, 2014 2:59p ET
The woman told police that after drinking she was raped by redshirt transfer Brandon Austin -- the subject of a separate sexual assault investigation in Rhode Island -- and sophomores Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson, one of the team’s leading scorers this past season.
The woman acknowledged that she had been drinking, that she had trouble remembering some of the events clearly, and that she may have had consensual sex with one of the men the next morning -- all factors that played in the decision not to file charges.
“This case, given the state of the evidence the way it is now, is closed,” said Patricia Perlow, the chief deputy district attorney for Lane County.
Perlow said that if new information surfaces, that decision could be reconsidered.
In the written evaluation of the case, she cited “insufficient evidence” to prove criminal charges.
“While there is no doubt the incidents occurred, the conflicting statements and actions by the victim make this case unprovable as a criminal case,” Perlow wrote.
The three players contend that the encounter was consensual, according to a Eugene Police Department report of the incident.
Still, school officials on Monday suspended the three from the team. They also may face discipline from the school -- the federal gender equity law known as Title IX requires all colleges and universities that receive federal funding to conduct “prompt and equitable” investigations.
University of Oregon president Michael R. Gottfredson released a statement in which he said he was “deeply concerned about information contained in the police report” involving the three players.
“Federal laws that protect the privacy of all students preclude the university from commenting about students,” Gottfredson said. “However, the university takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. In addition, a full range of services and support are offered to students, including those required by Title IX and others beyond the requirements of Title IX.”
None of the players could be reached. A message left for an attorney for Austin was not immediately returned.
According to a heavily redacted police report, the woman involved in the incident called police on March 13 to report that she’d been sexually assaulted several days earlier. She told an officer that on the night of March 8 she went to a party with two friends but left after the police were called because they were underage. They then went to another party, where she alleged that three men she identified as Austin, Artis and Dotson led her to a bathroom.
The woman told police she went willingly -- a decision she said was influenced by the fact she was intoxicated -- but did not want to have sex.
There, she described trying to hold onto her shorts because one of the men was trying to pull them down and said she was sexually assaulted by two of the men. After someone else walked in on them, she left the bathroom but got dizzy and sat down in a hallway. A short time later, she said she was pulled back into the bathroom and assaulted a second time by all three men.
“I remember saying no throughout the whole thing,” she said, according to the police report.
She acknowledged to police that she was intoxicated.
She said she later got into a cab with the three players and another man and was taken to an apartment. During the ride, she said the men made her take two drinks of “nasty” alcohol.
At the apartment -- which she identified as Artis’ -- she said all three men raped her in a bedroom.
“I think I just gave up,” she said, according to the police report. “I let them do whatever they wanted. I just wanted it to be over and go to sleep.”
She said the assault stopped after she started crying.
The woman curled up on the bed and slept.
Artis later told police that he and the woman had sex the next morning. When she was questioned about that, she said she could not remember clearly but that the two of them did “fool around a little.”
Artis and Dotson both told police that the encounter was consensual. An attorney for Austin provided a similar account of the incident to police.
Austin remains the subject of an ongoing investigation into a sexual assault alleged last November in Rhode Island while he was a student at Providence College. Austin subsequently transferred to Oregon and was expected to be eligible to play next December.
Oregon coach Dana Altman was quoted on the school’s athletic website as saying that he had looked into Austin’s background at Providence and “felt like this was something that was not of a serious nature and we’d be able to move on from there.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Austin and a former teammate were the focus of the Providence investigation.
Providence police Maj. David Lapatin on Tuesday confirmed that the investigation is open. He said detectives have concluded one phase of their work but have yet to talk to the men alleged to have committed the assault.
The case has been turned over to the office of Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin for analysis before any further steps are taken by police detectives, Lapatin said.
“We just wanted to send it for an opinion from the attorney general before we decide how to proceed,” Lapatin said.