Ex-student: Wake brushed off sex assault incident
A former Wake Forest student said the school brushed off her
allegations of a sexual assault by a basketball player to protect
its athletic program.
Speaking Thursday on NBC’s ”Today” show, Margaret Hurt said
Wake Forest didn’t adequately pursue her allegations two years ago
”on purpose because that was a way that they got their money.”
The interview aired as part of the program’s package on how
colleges respond to allegations of sexual assaults on campuses.
According to a report filed with Miami police in 2009, she
accused guard Gary Clark of sexually assaulting her in a hotel
bathroom after an NCAA tournament game while teammate Jeff Teague
Hurt’s name is redacted from the documents, which state that
police investigated but declined to bring charges because of a lack
of both physical evidence and witnesses. The school’s judicial
board also conducted an investigation and cleared the players of
Michael Grace, a Winston-Salem attorney who represents both
Clark and Teague, said in a statement that the players are
”stunned and outraged by the allegations.”
”That NBC would provide Ms. Hurt with a forum to air her story
to millions – a story which is dramatically different from any
story she has told in the past – without giving both Gary and Jeff
an opportunity to respond, is tragic and will adversely affect them
for years to come,” Grace said.
Grace said neither he nor either player will make any further
statements ”until a proper forum can be identified to ensure a
proper and full airing of all the facts.”
He said Clark and Teague ”are strongly evaluating potential
legal action against both Ms. Hurt and NBC.”
A spokeswoman for ”Today” said the network would have no
Teague now plays for the Atlanta Hawks, and officials with the
NBA team didn’t immediately return a phone message.
Clark, a senior member of the Demon Deacons’ basketball team
this year, graduated last weekend with a degree in mathematics.
Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, in an open letter to the
school’s community, said he is ”troubled by the prevalence of
sexual misconduct in our society today” but that ”I feel strongly
that the University’s response, as well as our character, has been
School officials have said federal privacy laws prohibit them
from commenting on specific details.
John Clune, Hurt’s Colorado-based attorney, said Hurt and her
family will decide ”in the near future” whether to file a lawsuit
and that their focus is on how the school responded to her
”The university is an entity the parents feel they can trust
their children to when they turn them over at the age of 18,”
Clune said. ”When they feel like the school turns their back on
them, that’s almost as retraumatizing as the actual assault itself.
… Going forward, that’s where their frustration lies.
”That’s why there’s such a focus on the university. Those are
the people that are expected to do the right thing when push comes
to shove,” he added.
Hatch said the school has established a group to work with
victims of sexual assaults and raise awareness, and has made
available a full-time victim’s advocate to inform students of their
rights, ”including their right to file a report with appropriate
law enforcement authorities at any time.
”Ultimately, however, the decision of whether to file a police
report, and when to do so, is a personal decision that must be made
independently by the individual student,” Hatch wrote.
Athletic director Ron Wellman said his department ”works
diligently to encourage conduct that properly reflects the values
of our university.”
According to the police documents, Hurt ”ran into” Teague in
the hallway of their Miami hotel at about 3:30 a.m. on March 21 –
hours after the Demon Deacons were upset by Cleveland State in the
first round of the NCAA tournament.
Clark later joined the conversation, according to the report.
She said the players asked her about performing oral sex, and she
accepted Teague’s invitation to go to a hotel room.
When they arrived, according to the documents, she and Clark
entered the bathroom and Teague closed the door behind them. She
said Clark lowered his pants and asked her to touch his genitals;
after she declined, he asked her to perform oral sex, and she said
she complied because she was afraid not to.
In Clark’s statement to investigators, he said she removed his
pants and the oral sex was consensual.
The report said Teague walked the woman back to her hotel room
at about 5 a.m. and asked her what happened; when she explained, he
hugged her, kissed her neck and left. She checked out of the hotel
and returned to North Carolina without telling anyone, the report
After a few days she told a friend who insisted she report the
incident to campus police, according to the documents. Records
indicate the incident was reported to police in North Carolina on
April 8 of that year, and the case was transferred to Miami police
because that’s where the incident took place. Detective James Rae
of the Wake Forest campus police investigated and forwarded
statements from Clark, Teague and a third male student to Miami
Laura Adams, an assistant state attorney in Miami, said in the
report that she recommended no criminal charges be filed because
the allegations were one-on-one in nature, there was a delay in
reporting the incident to authorities, the players denied the
allegations, there was a lack of evidence and there were no
corroborating witnesses. The case was ruled closed.
AP Legal Affairs Writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to