Student sues U. of Oregon after claiming rape by players
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by three University of Oregon basketball players filed a lawsuit Thursday against the school and head basketball coach Dana Altman.
The suit alleges Altman knew when he recruited Brandon Austin that the player had been suspended from Providence College in Rhode Island due to allegations of sexual misconduct. It also claims that the university put off disciplinary action against the players in order to help the basketball team and that it illegally accessed her campus counseling records.
The woman, who is still a University of Oregon student, alleges the school was negligent, violated her civil rights and privacy, and deprived her of her right to an education.
”UO delayed taking any action on the sexual assaults for over two months while it prioritized winning basketball games over the health, safety, and welfare of its students,” the lawsuit alleges.
Interim President Scott Coltrane said the university disagrees with the allegations in the lawsuit and believes it acted lawfully. He said the university is trying to improve its code of conduct and its handling of student discipline.
”It’s our primary job to keep our students safe,” Coltrane said.
Austin and the two other players told authorities they had consensual sex with the woman, and prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to file charges. Laura Fine Moro, a lawyer who has represented Austin, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The woman met the players at a party March 8, the same night the Ducks finished the regular season. The woman’s father soon called police.
The university was informed of the ensuing investigation but allowed two of the players, Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson, to compete in the NCAA tournament. Austin could not suit up because of NCAA transfer rules.
All three players were later suspended from the university.
Austin was accused of sexual assault and suspended from the Providence team late in 2013. The reason for his suspension was not made public, and he transferred to Oregon.
Altman has said he didn’t know why Austin was suspended from Providence when he recruited the player. At a news conference last year, the coach acknowledged that his questioning on the matter ”probably didn’t go deep enough.” Austin was never charged with a crime in Providence.
The woman, who is identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, is seeking reimbursement of her tuition and expenses, payment of expenses incurred as a result of the alleged assault, as well as damages for emotional pain and loss of enjoyment of life.