EUGENE, Ore. - The Lane County district attorney answered questions Wednesday about his office's decision not to file criminal charges after a University of Oregon student alleged 3 basketball players raped her.
Alex Gardner released a statement Tuesday, a day after the police report on the March incident came to light. The report became available to the public after Gardner's office declined to file formal charges in the case.
"Sexual activity isn't necessarily criminal," Gardner said. "The question is at what point is the evidence sufficient to prove a rape or other cirimal sexual activity, and that's where the focus has been."
Gardner has said prosecutors would review the case if new evidence becomes available.
"Whatever happened here, it's apparent that the victim was traumatized," he said. "I don't want to do anything which is going to further that traumatization. But at the same time, I don't want to characterize this in a way which makes it seem like we've made decisions about the guilt of the people who've been identified as suspects either."
The University of Oregon has also faced scrutiny. The university police learned of the alleged assault from the woman's father that same day. The players continued to take part in games through the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.
“The University of Oregon first learned of the allegations from the alleged victim’s father on March 9, as reported in the released police report," spokesperson Tobin Klinger said in a statement. "Upon receiving information such as this, the university’s procedures are to immediately provide services and support. Prior to the NCAA Tournament, the Eugene Police Department told the university that if it took investigative or administrative action, it would jeopardize the integrity of the criminal investigation and, therefore, requested that the university not take action at that time. The university received the police report on April 24, after the criminal investigation was complete and the District Attorney declined to prosecute. Due to Federal privacy laws, the university cannot provide further details regarding its actions at this time.”
Pressed for further comment about the university's response, another spokesperson, Julie Brown, said she could not comment on "specific incidents involving students."
"Federal privacy laws preclude me from commenting about specific incidents involving students," she wrote. "I can tell you that in general whenever an incident of sexual violence is brought to our attention, we begin immediately to provide support and services and begin to meet our obligations to Title IX, which include assessing safety risks for the educational experiences for our students. I can’t speak specifically about what the university did during that time frame."