Players remained on team after woman went to police

Players remained on team after woman went to police »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - In a big win for Duck basketball, Oregon beat Arizona on March 8

It's following that victory in the early morning hours of March 9 that a woman says she was raped by three well-known basketball players.

In a 24-page police report, police recount the woman's graphic description of what she says began at a party. | 'Pressured into having sex' | Why were players still on court? | District attorney explains why no charges were filed

The woman told police she was twice sexually assaulted in the bathroom of a home on 22nd Avenue by Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin.

Later she describes a confusing scene where she got into a taxi with the three Duck basketball players and an unidentified fourth man. She sat in the lap of Artis, she told police.

They went to his apartment, where she told police the fourth man watched as the three  sexually assaulted her.

"I think I just gave up," police quoted her in the report. "I let them do whatever they wanted. I just wanted it to be over and to go to sleep."

She said the men stopped when she started to cry. She slept over, and left the next morning.

All three players, interviewed separately, admitted to having what they thought was consensual sex with the woman. Artis said he and the woman had sexual contact the next morning, which she later confirmed.

And she told police she had consensual sex with another man in his bedroom the next daywhile Artis and Dotson were at his home, playing video games.

The Lane County District Attorney's Office has said they can't prosecute the men, citing a lack of physical evidence to prove a crime occured beyond a reasonable doubt.

All three players are not currently participating in basketball activities, the university said.

'Pressured into having sex'

A follow-up report states the woman said "the incidents occurred because she was highly intoxicated and was pressured into having sex."

Claire Aubin with the University of Oregon Women's Center said it's that pressure that may have impacted the victim's ability to consent to sex.

"There's a term called 'coercive rape' which is where you are asked and asked and you might be persuaded to do something that you wouldn't normally do, or that you're unconfrotable with," Aubin said. "That seems to be a really large part of what happens with college perpetrations is that it starts with a 'yes' and transforms into a 'no', but that 'no' can't be said."

In the report, police said the woman said the men "were not forceful, not threatening, and did not hurt her. Rather, they were persistent and did not stop when she said she did not want to do anything."

Aubin said the status of the players on campus may have contributed to the alleged victim not doing more.

"Especially on this campus, where athletics are such a huge part in our school," she said, "and additionally, they have so much attention around them and they're praised constantly and shown as the golden boys of our school - how do you say no to that? Or how do you say no, especially when you're at a place where there are so many people around?"

Did the university know about these rape allegatons and still allow the men to play?

The woman first spoke to police on Thursday, March 13. The woman said her father previously called in a report to the University police department.

Both Artis and Dotson were still on the court for both the the Pac-12 and the NCAA tournaments.

It raises the question: Did the university know about these rape allegatons and still allow the men to play?

"Law enforcement agencies often request that the university wait to take action in order to avoid interference with an open criminal investigation," the university said in a statement Tuesday. "We responded accordingly in this situation. In all cases, we begin investigating immediately, and aggressively address situations."

Aubin said the university should have done more. She cited the recent case Jameis Winston, a star Florida State University football player accused of raping a fellow student who said she was too intoxicated to consent.

No charges were filed, and the investigation was called into question by the New York Times and others.

More recently, 55 school across the nation are under investigation after the White House said they mishandled reported cases of sexual assaults on campus.

Oregon is not one of them, but when that report came out just last week, university leaders said they heard the message.

"We're proud that we are not on that list of 55," Reta Radostitz, UO communications director of student affairs, "and we are doing, making efforts to listen to our students, look at best practices."

Reported sexual assault cases at Oregon are trending up. The latest numbers from the university police department on reported forcible sex offences on campus in 2012 was 17, up from 8 cases in 2011.

This is not the first time Brandon Austin has been accused of sexual assault. In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that he was under investigation for a possible sex crime at his former school in Rhode Island prior to transferring to Oregon during the season.

District Attorney Alex Gardner issued this statement in response to questions about his office's decision not to pursue charges against 3 Oregon Duck basketball players accused of rape:

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 intercourse.)

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.