Athletes, assaults and inaction

"That fact pattern is enormously distressing to me, that people are coming forward saying that there's something wrong, that shouldn't have happened, and that the school says that, 'We can't handle that,'" she said.

Multiple allegations before player dismissed

At Missouri, the final count was four -- one alleged rape, one alleged physical assault, one sexual assault and one domestic assault -- before one of its star athletes left campus in 2010.

The first incident came in October 2008, when a sophomore at Missouri reported that running back Derrick Washington raped her in her dorm room.

The second came in May 2010, when a women's soccer player said Washington punched her at a bar.

The third came in June 2010, when a 2009 Missouri graduate and former athletic department tutor reported that Washington -- who was at her apartment to have sex with her roommate -- crept into her bedroom in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted her.

And the last came three months later, when Washington was arrested for beating up his ex-girlfriend.

Washington's involvement with police began in 2008, when a student accused him of rape.

"He grabbed both my wrists with one hand and kept doing [sic] and just proceeded to put his penis inside of me," the woman told "Outside the Lines" about the 2008 incident. "When I was finally able to push him off me, he just kept saying that if I said anything they would kick him off the football team. And football was his life, so if I said anything, he would kill me and kill himself."

After their investigation, campus police sent a warrant request to Boone County assistant prosecuting attorney Andrew Scholz, but he ultimately declined to press charges against Washington. Instead, Scholz entered into an agreement with Washington that he wouldn't be charged as long as he never contacted the woman and took rape awareness classes. Scholz, who left Boone County in 2010 and is in private practice, said there were a number of issues that came up in interviewing witnesses that would weaken the woman's case, including a comment made to her by her ex-boyfriend that she could use the incident as leverage to get a full-ride scholarship.

University officials knew of her rape allegation, though, and under federal law should have begun an investigation, no matter what authorities did. The woman said she told her academic adviser, who acknowledged in a phone conversation with "Outside the Lines" that she had a conversation with her about the rape. But the adviser said the woman didn't tell her it had been Washington.

Washington's parents told "Outside the Lines" that assistant football coaches met with them to talk about the incident and indicated to them that criminal charges likely wouldn't be filed.

The coaches and adviser fit the definition of "mandatory reporters" under Title IX, meaning someone obligated to report the incident to initiate a Title IX investigation. At that point, the university would have been required to open a Title IX investigation -- the purpose and conduct of which are different from a criminal investigation. The standard of proof needed for action also differs from criminal investigations; although a criminal case requires "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" for a finding of guilt, a Title IX case, much like a civil court case, needs only a "preponderance of evidence."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...