Update: A response from UO’s Senior Director of Communications Julie Brown has been added to the bottom of this post.
The survivor of an alleged March sexual assault involving three men’s basketball players released a statement Thursday morning through John Clune, her attorney.
Her statement comes almost three months after Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin of Oregon’s basketball team allegedly raped her in two different locations: teammate Johnathan Loyd’s house and an apartment shared by Dotson and Artis.
While the alleged survivor remained anonymous, Clune — who has represented clients of high-profile cases including the sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant, a civil lawsuit against MLB player Johan Santana and the Florida State rape case involving Jamies Winston, a Heisman trophy winner — released the following statement on her behalf to The Emerald:
An open letter from a fellow Duck:
The past few months have, undeniably, been the hardest and most challenging time in my life. This is such an overwhelming experience and one that I hope that no other student on campus ever has to live through. Given what has transpired on campus recently, I have at times wondered whether I ever should have told anyone about what had happened.
I know a lot of people are angry. I am angry, too. I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students. I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene. I think that students, faculty, and other community members have been asking some very needed questions of our athletic department, and I am not satisfied with the answers they have provided. I think that we all deserve better explanations and real transparency.
Despite my frustration, it is important to me to thank the Dean of Students office. They have been very kind and supportive of me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m not sure I would still be on campus if it weren’t for their help.
I know this has stirred up a lot of issues on campus and some of them are bigger than my incident. My sincere hope, though, is that as a school UO can get through this and come out in a better place at the end. I still love our school and I want it to be the best and safest place anywhere in the country.
The statement is the first from the alleged survivor. According to Eugene Police documents, she first met with officer John Loos on March 14 to report the crime that allegedly occurred March 8.
On March 18, the Wall Street Journal reported that Austin was under investigation in Rhode Island for a sexual assault allegedly committed while he attended Providence College back in November. Austin transferred to the University of Oregon after being suspended from the Providence team.
On April 14, Lane County’s District Attorney Alex Gardner concluded while it was clear the incident occurred the state would not press charges, citing insufficient evidence to prove criminal conduct.
In a May 9 press conference, Oregon men’s basketball head coach Dana Altman confirmed that the three players had been suspended on May 5, and that Dotson, Artis and Austin would not return to play basketball.
In response, Senior Director of Communication Julie Brown released this statement:
“There have been many comments made by individuals not directly involved and affected by the alleged incident until today’s open letter to the Daily Emerald. We sympathize with the challenging position that she finds herself in and support her right to express herself. We are pleased that she is continuing her education, and appreciate her pointing out the dedicated professionals in the Dean of Students office who work very hard to support each student while protecting privacy.”