The University of Oregon is reeling after a report released Monday about the alleged sexual assault of a young woman by three members of the Men's Basketball team.
The Lane County District Attorney's office says it will not file charges against Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin because of a lack of evidence. Eugene Police investigated the three Ducks for first degree rape. A female student says they sexually assaulted her repeatedly over several hours on the night of March 8th and early March 9th during and after a party near campus.
Claire Aubin with the ASUO Women's Center says she and fellow students are outraged that it seems like U of O athletes are treated differently for bad behavior.
Aubin: "I think a very large percentage of campus, a very large percentage of students here are very tired of a campus that continually makes the decision to make the school, especially in terms of athletics, a safe space for athletes rather than a safe space for survivors."
Aubin says she hopes the administration will hold the alleged perpetrators accountable. U of O president Michael Gottfedson released a statement expressing deep concern about the incident. The U of O says the players are not participating in team activities but has not said why or if they're being reprimanded.
A rally against sexual violence is planned Thursday at noon on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.
Statement from Robin Holmes, vice president for Student Affairs, and Rob Mullens, athletic director
"The University of Oregon takes all student misconduct that threatens the safety of our students very seriously. We have a clear obligation and responsibility to act in a way that protects all members of our campus community, and our first priority is always to ensure the safety and support of our students.
Questions have arisen regarding the timeliness of the university’s involvement in the matter reported about University of Oregon basketball. Law enforcement agencies often request that the university wait to take action in order to avoid interference with an open criminal investigation. We responded accordingly in this situation. In all cases we begin investigating immediately, and aggressively address situations in accordance with the law, our internal code of conduct, and our commitment and obligation to protect and support our students."
Statement from Lane County DA Alex Gardner:
The DA’s office “no-filed” charges in a sexual assault case in which several University of Oregon basketball players allegedly forced a female University of Oregon student to have sex. The no-file decision is based entirely upon analysis of the available evidence and it’s insufficiency to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
A no file decision is not a statement about who we believe or don’t believe. It is simply an analysis of the available evidence and its sufficiency to meet the State’s burden of proof. From time to time, additional evidence becomes available after an initial no-file. When that happens, the evidence is reviewed and, if sufficient, a case may be revived and prosecuted.
Recent investigation of sexual assault involving UO basketball players:
All three suspects report having consensual sex with the alleged victim. The alleged victim, claims that some or all of the sexual contact was involuntary. In such cases our analysis centers on any evidence of force, the absence of consent, or victim inability to consent. In this case, it’s important to note that the alleged victim and the alleged assailants describe substantially similar sexual activity, timing and order of events. The principal differences between the versions of events told by the alleged victim and the alleged assailants centers on the apparent level of victim intoxication and whether and at what point the victim expressed a desire to either not have sex, or stop having sex. For purposes of this investigation, we are equally concerned with evidence that the victim was forcibly compelled, or unable to consent by reason of intoxication.
The alleged sexual assaults took place at different locations over a period of many hours. According to the victim, the first sexual assault took place at the hands of two of the three suspects in the bathroom of a house where a party involving about thirty people was taking place. She reports the assault being comparatively brief and interrupted when she asked to get a drink of water. The assault allegedly ended after which the victim reports resting on a couch with a drink of water, mingling briefly with other partygoers, and then returning to the bathroom with the same two assailants and a third individual who, she reports, all resumed a sexual assault similar to the assault the first two assailants had initiated earlier.
During the second sexual assault episode, the victim reports getting a text from a friend telling her that it was “time to go”. This assault reportedly ended promptly when the victim told her assailants “I need to go”. At that point, all four people reportedly left the bathroom and the victim went outside where one of her friends was waiting with her ride home. The friend reports waiting for the victim, repeatedly warning her that the man/men “just want you for sex”, and encouraging the victim to leave the party with her. According to the alleged victim, this is the point at which one of the assailants grabbed her and pulled her back towards the house. (At this point the victim’s friend and others describe a playful, flirtatious interaction between the victim and her alleged assailants, with no element of force, no indication of victim fear or apprehension, and no indication that the alleged victim was physically or mentally impaired by alcohol.) The alleged victim then went back towards the party-house and, shortly thereafter, got into a taxi with the same men who had allegedly assaulted her (now twice). The taxi took the group back to a residence shared by two of the alleged assailants. Shortly thereafter, the victim and the three men from the second bathroom assault went into one of the bedrooms and resumed various sex acts similar to those that had taken place in the bathroom at the party house. A fourth man was allegedly present and watching the sex acts, but did not participate.
According to the alleged victim, she started crying during the third sexual assault and the assault
promptly stopped. She then spent the rest of the night sleeping with one of the three men who had
reportedly assaulted her, but she reports no further sex between them. (This is an area of material
disagreement concerning the sex acts themselves. The man who slept with the alleged victim reports
having consensual vaginal sex one more time in the morning. When reminded of this, the alleged victim
confirms that they had oral sex the following day, but can’t remember whether they also had
The following day the alleged victim reports being tired and upset. When she goes to visit friends she
finds two of her alleged assailants in the residence playing video games, so she withdraws outside.
While waiting there another friends walks up, consoles her, and they end up having sexual intercourse.
There are multiple sources of information in this case. Since consent is the issue, not whether the sex
acts took place, DNA is of little value. The focus was on evidence of consent or the inability to consent.
In making the initial determination we evaluated the presumption of innocence and the State’s burden
of proof in light of the following:
1) Several interviews with the alleged victim,
2) Interviews with victim’s friends and associates who saw her before and after various critical
points during the time in question
3) Surreptitious recorded phone calls with the alleged suspects
4) Police interviews with the suspects and others.
A) Although the alleged victim reports being impaired by alcohol prior to any sexual contact, there
is no evidence, from her or from others, that suggests she had enough to drink to become
substantially impaired prior to the first two sexual encounters in the bathroom. There is also no
independent behavioral evidence that the victim appeared significantly impaired: nobody
reports her having slurred speech, difficulty walking or any other symptom of impairment from
intoxication at any point in the evening.
B) Friends and associates of the alleged victim describe her as friendly and flirtations, both before
and after the first and second alleged assaults in the party-house bathroom. Moreover, all
witnesses agree the alleged victim had the opportunity to leave the party, or at least ask for
help, after the first series of sexual assaults. Friends and others report her “walking and talking
fine” both before and after both sex-in-the-bathroom events.
C) The alleged victim recalls extensive detail about all aspects of the evening, including the timing,
order of events – even the exact amount of the cab fare and her decision to have another drink
of alcohol during the ride to the alleged assailants’ residents, and most of the detail is consistent
with the events reported by others (so she does not appear to have been affected to the point
of perception or memory impairment. Similarly, there’s no evidence she was ever unconscious
during the sex acts, nor is there any evidence she was ever impaired to the point where it
adversely effected her balance or stability.)
D) The alleged assailants stopped the sex acts several times – first when the alleged victim asked
for a drink of water, next when the alleged victim said she “had to go” and, finally, at the second
residence, when the alleged victim started crying (the first point at which suspects claim they
realized she wasn’t “in to it”).
E) Victim returned to isolated locations with her alleged assailants repeatedly, although she had friends nearby and she was in a crowded party.
F) Telephone calls between the alleged victim and alleged assailants were recorded surreptitiously. The contents of those conversations are consistent with suspect’s version of consensual sex, or at least their belief it was consensual sex.)
G) Friends of the alleged victim say she did not appear to be impaired by alcohol at any time during the evening.
H) Alleged victim had consensual sex with one of the suspects the morning after the alleged assaults and, later the same day, she had sex with another friend.
I) The crimes are reported by victim’s father days after the alleged assaults took place and alleged victim is angered by the reporting (because of timing).
J) Alleged victim indicated a desire to only have her assailants’ “wrists slapped”, not ruin their lives.
K) Assailant interviews with police are consistent with recording made without their knowledge and the statements of other witnesses
None of the above would be individually inexplicable, but collectively, and in the absence of additional evidence, they provide an insurmountable barrier to prosecution.