Three University of Arkansas basketball players were questioned in a reported campus rape at a frat house Aug. 27.
News of the investigation broke on Fayetteville's 40/29 this morning. By the afternoon the Washington County prosecutor's office announced that no charges would be filed in the case for lack of evidence.
The players and the 18-year-old freshman woman both described sexual contact between two players and a woman in a fraternity dorm room early Aug. 27, but the players -- and a supporting witness seemd to support them -- said the acts were consensual. The woman said they were not. The prosecutor's office said it could not prove -- given the conflicting testimony-- that the woman was incapacitated and unable to give consent.
The episode raised unpleasant memories of the infamous "dorm incident" -- another case of group sex with UA basketball players in 1991 that led to a long-running controversy during the Nolan Richardson era. Though no charges were filed in this case, the UA athletic department may yet decide some sort of action is required involving the players. Athletic Director Jeff Long gave a non-commital statement earlier in the day, but amended it late in the afternoon to say that, now that the criminal process had been completed a review would be undertaken to see if any athletic department "rules or policies" had been violated. Are there any rules on grossly stupid and disgusting behavior? And don't miss a teammate's Twitter comment way down on the jump for stupidity. PS -- Arkansas Sports 360's Jim Harris has some thoughts on reaction.
Here's the only available public document on the complaint from the UA police. They referred other questions to the Washington County prosecutor.
Late this afternoon, Deputy Prosecutor Dustin Roberts returned my call and said no charges will be filed.
It's a sordid account. Read on for deatils.
Deputy Prosecutor Dustin Roberts said:
A freshman had been at the fraternity and drinking at a party. About 1 a.m., she went to a bedroom with about 20 people, three of whom were UA basketball players.
She said she didn't remember a lot. She said she had been drinking and players forced her to perform oral sex.
UA police interviewed suspects, who gave voluntary statements. Accordng to Roberts, "they did not contest the fact that sexual acts had occurred." Two said they were provided oral sex and masturbation. A fraternity member confirmed ths, Roberts said.
The fraternity member opened the door, which had been locked, and saw the woman bent over. Two basketball players were on a couch. "She was giving oral sex to one and masturbating the other," Roberts said. "A third one was behind her dancing." (The police investigative report quotes a witness as saying the third male was "rubbing against her buttocks with his pelvis".) After seeing that, the fraternity member asked for all four to leave.
According to Roberts, the woman "gave a statement to the fraternity member to the effect that 'we didn't do anything wrong.'"
After that everyone left. Police interviewed a number of witnesses who said the woman had been drinking, but was coherent.
"Based on the testimony, the UA didn't make an arrest," Roberts said. "They didn't think they could prove rape based on the statements they had."
The file was forwarded to the prosecutor, who reviewed the evidence and also talked to the woman, who continued to say that, while her memory was hazy, the sex was not consensual.
"Based on the evidence we had, or the lack thereof, we decided not to file charges," Roberts said.
To prove rape in this case, Robert said, the prosecution would have to show the woman was intoxicated to the "point that she was incapacitated and could not give consent." Or, he added, "was passed out." He said, "We're talking someone falling down drunk, not someone coherent and there were statements that she was coherent."
Roberts declined to comment on the woman's reaction to the decision not to file charges. He commented: "When college students and alcohol are inolved, it's a bad combination for everybody."
A lawyer representing the woman, John Bass, gave this statement to KFSM:
"As you know, I represent the victim and her family in this matter, and am acting as their counsel to guide them through this difficult process. We have just learned that the Washington County Prosecutor's Office has made the decision to not file charges in this matter. At this time we are reviewing all available information and will continue to explore all options until this matter is resolved. I cannot speculate as to what that may entail at this time, but may have a more detailed comment at a later time. As before, the family wishes to keep this a private matter and again we appreciate your respecting that and please continue to make contact through me only, and please continue to keep the victim's and the family's name out of the press."
University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long released this statement before news that no charges would be filed: "The athletic department is aware of an ongoing investigation into an incident involving an alleged sexual offense. We are also aware that students, including student-athletes, have been questioned regarding this matter. The department and our student-athletes have cooperated fully with the investigation and will continue to do so. We will not speculate on any allegations. We will wait for the prosecutor's office to assess the case and determine how the matter should proceed. We will support our student-athletes in an appropriate manner in accordance with University and NCAA guidelines."
STUPID JOCK DEPARTMENT
A Razorback basketball player posted this on his Twitter account Monday, but later deleted it. It was recaptured on tweleted.com
"Im gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the word no from a drunk girl lol"
Yeah. Laugh out loud. Nothing funnier than a gang bang.