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Student Says U of Oregon Let|Basketball Star Slide After Rapes

EUGENE, Ore. (CN) - A University of Oregon basketball star instigated the gang rape of a freshman 4 months after he was suspended from another school for his role in an alleged gang rape there, the freshman claims in court.

Jane Doe sued the University of Oregon and its head basketball coach Dana Dean Altman on Thursday in Federal Court. They are the only defendants.

Doe claims they ignored knowledge of the basketball recruit's previous suspension for allegations of sexual assault; delayed investigating claims that he instigated her gang rape so he could finish the basketball season; and allowed two of her three assailants to transfer to other schools with clean academic records, though the UO's director of student conduct found the recruit and two other basketball players "responsible for the sexual assault of plaintiff."

Doe says she was drunk at a party hosted in March 2014 by Ducks basketball player Jonathan Lloyd, who is not a party to the lawsuit.

Doe says three other players on the team "cornered" her in the bathroom.

"The clear instigator and most aggressive of the three assailants was a man named Brandon Austin, who had just transferred to UO from Providence College in January," the lawsuit states.

Doe claims the three men "began to grope plaintiff and remove her clothes."

She says she "attempted to keep her clothes on and push the men away, but she was overwhelmed by their size and strength, leaving plaintiff trapped in the small bathroom with no ability to escape."

"The men pushed her cell phone out of her reach saying, 'no one wants to talk to you' and commenced the first of multiple gang rapes of plaintiff," the lawsuit states.

Doe claims the three men then took her to one of the UO's off-campus apartments, "where they continued to gang rape plaintiff, at one point trying to get additional students in the building to rape plaintiff."

"After plaintiff was crying for a period of time, the assailants lost interest and the rape finally stopped," according to the complaint.

Doe says she told her father about the gang rape via text message the next morning, and he called the police. She says she cooperated with the investigation launched by the Eugene Police Department.

Ten days after she was raped, Doe says, "The Wall Street Journal reported that Austin had been previously suspended at Providence College following an allegation of a gang rape occurring on or about November 3, 2013."

Providence College accepted Austin as a "prized recruit" in 2013, according to the complaint. But before the season began, Austin and a teammate "were suspended from the team indefinitely for a reported gang rape of another Providence student," Doe says in the lawsuit.

"Austin's indefinite suspension became a season-long suspension on December 23, 2013, when Providence officials found him responsible for sexual assault," according to the complaint.

Providence officials changed Austin's punishment to allow him to transfer to another school, Doe claims. But his season-long suspension from the Providence basketball team remained in place, a fact "widely reported in the media," she says.

Doe claims that UO head coach Dana Altman and his assistant, nonparty Tony Stubblefield, knew about Austin's suspension for sexual assault, but recruited him anyway.


The coaches "and other UO personnel thoroughly investigated Austin's suspension and discussed the issues with Austin, his family and friends, and members of the Providence coaching staff," the lawsuit states.

"Altman and other UO personnel were fully aware of the basis for Austin's season-long suspension," Doe adds.

"In fact, Austin's mother, when asked about what the UO coaches knew, said, 'We told them everything. They knew everything,'" the lawsuit states.

Nonetheless, Doe says, UO admitted Austin as a transfer student with a full athletic scholarship. Austin enrolled at the UO on Jan. 6, 2014, "only two weeks after the public announcement of his season-long suspension at Providence for violations that defendants knew involved sexual misconduct," Doe says.

Doe claims that UO and Altman did not impose "any conditions" on Austin, not even counseling or monitoring, to protect his fellow students. Nor did they notify students that "UO and Altman had knowingly brought a reported sex offender to the UO campus in Eugene," Doe says.

Doe says she reported the assault to university officials on March 9, 2014, just after reporting the incident to the police. She claims that Michael Gottfredson, then-president at University of Oregon, knew about her allegations one week later - but the school waited until May to initiate its investigation.

"In the interim, the three players retained full academic and athletic privileges. Two of the three men went on to play key roles in UO's basketball games in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and defendant Altman was awarded large bonuses for the wins in the tournaments," the lawsuit states. Austin had to sit out his first year at UO because of transfer rules, Doe says.

She claims that the university and coach "delayed taking any action on the sexual assaults for over two months while it prioritized winning basketball games over the health, safety, and welfare of its students, including plaintiff."

She claims that the school and coach said they were "instructed by the Eugene Police not to suspend the players from the team, but the Eugene Police Department publicly denied the claim, indicating that they would have had no interest in such matters."

Doe says the school's code of conduct requires a disciplinary hearing, but administrators struck a "curious deal" with the three men. If they agreed to a closed "administrative conference," where university administrators alone would decide the outcome, defendants promised that the athletes "would not be expelled, would have no mention of sexual misconduct on their transcripts, and that no one would receive a physical copy of the final written outcome - including plaintiff," the lawsuit states.

"As UO explained to plaintiff's counsel, omitting the words "sexual misconduct' from their transcripts and the guaranteed lack of expulsion would then help the three men transfer to another school," according to the complaint.

"UO Director of Student Conduct found all three men responsible for sexually assaulting plaintiff and suspended each from UO for 4-10 years," the lawsuit states.

Doe adds that "two of the adjudicated sex offenders have successfully transferred to other schools to play basketball."

She says the school delayed and manipulated the process, among other things, to avoid "incurring NCAA sanctions, including the loss of scholarships and/or postseason bans."

And, she says, school administrators and attorneys illegally obtained her counseling records, to "gain advantage in preparing for any future litigation."

Doe wants her tuition repaid, the university ordered to institute a comprehensive sexual harassment policy, and damages for civil rights violations, deliberate indifference, negligence, denial of due process, intrusion, violation of equal protection and pain and suffering.

She is represented by Jennifer Middleton with Johnson, Johnson & Schaller.

A state college in Florida recruited Austin last July, according to media reports.

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