by Max Brantley
No official source is talking at this hour. But multiple sources indicate to me that H.G. Foster, appointed in November as a special prosecutor to review a UA freshman's allegation that she was sexually assaulted by three basketball players at a campus fraternity party, has concluded his review of the case. Expectations are that no criminal charges will be filed.
The local prosecutor earlier had decided not to file charges, but a lawyer for the woman's family pressed for appointment of a special prosecutor to review the case because of connections between the Washington County prosecutor and Razorback athletic officials.
The woman said she was sexually assaulted by three Razorback basektball players during an alcohol-fueled party at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. The players said any sexual contact was consensual. The athletic department never identified the players involved, though they were named in publicly released police reports. All received various forms of discipline subsequently, such as suspension from games, though it was never confirmed that the disciplinary actions were related to the contact with the woman. The university suspended the fraternity from holding social events for a time.
Foster, a former Faulkner County prosecutor, was appointed in November. When he completes his review, he'll file a report with Circuit Judge William Storey, who appointed him. None is yet on file. Prosecutor John Threet, who supported the appointment, said he'd received no word of the completion. But he said a decision not to file charges wouldn't surprise him. "I've read the file,' he said. Foster would not comment.
Though multiple witnesses described a setting in which the young woman appeared to be willingly engaging in suggestive activities with the players, the alleged sexual acts occurred only in the presence of the men accused and the woman. Her family's lawyer has said evidence gathered that night indicates, contrary to players' statements, that the sexual contact included vaginal penetration.