UO Student Settles Rape Claims for $800K

     EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – A University of Oregon student who sued the school in January claiming it and head basketball coach Dana Dean Altman let three basketball stars skate after raping her settled her claims Tuesday for $800,000.
     Jane Doe’s lawyer, John Clune, forwarded Doe’s statement.
     “I am so glad to have this case behind me today and to be able to focus on my studies. I am very grateful for the outpouring of support that I have received from students, faculty, and other organizations,” Doe said. “The response from the UO community has been remarkable and I know that the increased awareness around these issues on our campus can only serve to help us.”
     Doe also thanked the dean of students, her on-campus therapist and other school personnel.
     The school agreed to pay $800,000 plus four years of tuition and housing, and promised to adopt a policy requiring transfer students to report all disciplinary action at their former schools.
     The school’s president, Michael Schill, said in a statement that the university planned to hire a Title IX coordinator who would implement and oversee new programs to “prevent, investigate and address allegations of sexual harassment and violence.
     “As an attorney and former law school dean, I want to be very clear about what this settlement means and what it does not mean,” Schill said. “I do not believe any of our coaches, administrators, or other university personnel acted wrongfully, nor do I believe that any one of them failed to live up to the high moral standards that we value and that they embody in their work every day. I do believe that we can no longer afford to debate the incident and must instead move forward and implement a comprehensive set of policies to ensure that all of our students will feel secure in the knowledge that they will be free from sexual violence and feel confident should allegations of misconduct be brought forth they will be dealt with fairly, effectively, and expeditiously.”
     Doe claimed the school recruited Brandon Austin, the “clear instigator” of her assault, for the basketball team and ignored knowledge of his previous suspension for allegations of sexual assault.
     She also accused the school of delaying its investigation of her claims so Austin 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 players “responsible for the sexual assault of plaintiff.”
     Austin and the two other basketball players Doe accused of rape were not parties to the lawsuit.
     Ten days after she was raped, Doe said, “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 Nov. 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 said in the lawsuit.
     “Austin’s indefinite suspension became a season-long suspension on Dec. 23, 2013, when Providence officials found him responsible for sexual assault,” the complaint said.
     Providence officials changed Austin’s punishment to allow him to transfer to another school, Doe claimed. But his season-long suspension from the Providence basketball team remained in place, a fact “widely reported in the media,” she said.
     Doe claimed that UO head coach Dana Altman and his assistant, non-party 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 said.
     “Altman and other UO personnel were fully aware of the basis for Austin’s season-long suspension,” Doe added.
     “In fact, Austin’s mother, when asked about what the UO coaches knew, said, ‘We told them everything. They knew everything,'” according to the lawsuit.
     Nonetheless, Doe said, UO admitted Austin as a transfer student with a full athletic scholarship. Austin enrolled at the university 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 said.
     Doe claimed 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 said.
     The Eugene Police Department declined to prosecute the case, but the university’s director of student conduct “found all three men responsible for sexually assaulting plaintiff and suspended each from UO for 4-10 years,” the lawsuit said.
     She said 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 said, school administrators and attorneys illegally obtained her counseling records to “gain advantage in preparing for any future litigation.”
     Doe added that “two of the adjudicated sex offenders have successfully transferred to other schools to play basketball.”
     A state college in Florida recruited Austin in July 2014, according to media reports.

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