COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and athletic director Mike Alden say they followed what they believed to be the school’s protocol when former running back Derrick Washington was accused of rape in 2008.
Pinkel said Friday at a news conference that he learned of the allegation in October 2008 but did not take action because no charges were filed.
Alden said he was not aware then of reporting requirements for sexual violence to the Title IX coordinator. Legislation mandates schools to investigate instances of alleged sexual discrimination or violence once it has evidence of an incident.
ESPN reported Thursday two former University of Missouri female students made assault allegations against Washington before the two other cases for which he eventually served jail time. A women’s soccer player said her coach suggested she could lose her scholarship if she pursued her complaint that Washington punched her in a 2010 bar fight.
The second woman accused Washington of raping her in a dorm room as a sophomore in 2008. Local prosecutors in that case declined to file criminal charges, despite a request to do so by campus police. Washington instead agreed to not contact the woman and to complete a rape awareness class under a deferred prosecution agreement.
University Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who took over in Columbia in February, said Thursday that the school ”made mistakes in the past” by not investigating the alleged sex assault as required by the federal Title IX law.
Washington, a former co-captain and starting running back, was suspended from team on August 26, 2010. Later that month, he was charged with deviate sexual assault in connection with a June 2010 sexual assault of former athletic department tutor Teresa Braeckel. In 2011, Washington was sentenced to five years in prison for the sexual assault and served four months.
He also pleaded guilty in February 2012 to third-degree domestic assault of an ex-girlfriend.
The ESPN report did not name either woman. Police reports and university documents connected to the two incidents also don’t identify the complainants.
Loftin said the former women’s soccer player’s assertion that Coach Bryan Blitz threatened to pull her scholarship was investigated and found to be "unsubstantiated" after nearly two dozen interviews with the woman’s coaches and teammates.
Missouri hired an outside law firm to review its policies after another ESPN investigation in January into the alleged off-campus rape of a former university swimmer by several football players in February 2010. Sasha Menu Courey later left school and committed suicide.
The outside review faulted the university’s response and determined that the school’s Title IX coordinator and local police should have been alerted to Menu Courey’s claims in November 2012 after a public records request by her parents produced documents that alluded to a possible attack.
Missouri has since hired a full-time Title IX coordinator as well as a full-time sex assault investigator. Overseeing the school’s compliance with the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education had previously been handled on a part-time basis by an administrator with other duties.