Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Former Missouri running back Derrick Washington was accused of rape in October 2008, and the university failed to properly conduct a Title IX investigation, according to an ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” report published Thursday.
The article also said a former Missouri women’s soccer player told police her coach said she might lose her scholarship if she did not drop assault allegations against Washington.
The report outlines four incidents involving Washington: the alleged rape in 2008, the May 2010 incident when Washington allegedly punched the Missouri women’s soccer player in the face at a bar, a June 2010 incident when Washington allegedly sexually assaulted a Missouri graduate and former athletic department tutor, and a incident later in 2010 when Washington was arrested for beating up his ex-girlfriend.
In 2011, Washington was convicted of deviate sexual assault for the June 2010 incident, and in February 2012 he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree domestic assault against his ex-girlfriend.
Washington was dismissed from the team in August 2010. He was expected to be a team captain that season.
The ESPN report said there was enough evidence for Missouri to have undergone a Title IX investigation regarding the rape accusation and the failure to do so may have violated federal law. “Outside the Lines” reported Boone County police told Washington he would not face charges if he took rape awareness classes and did not contact the woman. However, the report says, “The standard of proof needed for (a Title IX investigation) also differs from criminal investigations … a Title IX case, much like a civil court case, needs only ‘a preponderance of evidence,’ rather than ‘proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” the requirement for criminal cases.
Title IX deals with the way universities handle gender-related issues, including sexual assault and rape, and is a federal law.
Missouri chancellor R. Bowen Loftin responded to the claims in a university press release: “Though there does not appear to be an intentional mishandling of any of the cases in the report at this time, I make no excuses, and offer my personal apologies and those of my staff to the victims,” he said. “No degree of explanation or regret can undo what has happened in the past. Our focus now is to do everything within our power to prevent sexual misconduct of any type at Missouri and, if it does unfortunately occur, to provide the resources and support to the victim while assuring that the perpetrator is brought to justice.”
Loftin also spoke with reporters Thursday about the report.
He said the claims of soccer coach Bryan Blitz telling the player she would lose her scholarship if she did not drop accusations against Washington were investigated when the university gained access to the Columbia Police Department report earlier this year. Loftin does not believe Blitz told the player to drop her accusations.
“What seems to be clear is the soccer coach and the player had a conversation. Sometimes two people talk to each other and leave that room with a different understanding of that conversation,” he said, according to a Columbia Tribune transcript. “The soccer coach was clearly trying to tell his player — because she was arrested by the Columbia Police Department for fighting with the other girl — that her involvement with the law in this case could result in the revocation of her scholarship. My understanding (is) she walked away, apparently, with a different impression of that. That if she were to pursue this, that there’d be a loss of scholarship possibly because of the involvement of Washington in this.
“That was not, in my understanding, the intent of the soccer coach.”
Washington told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday the alleged rape in 2008 only involved consensual sex.
“When we started to have sex and she said stop, that was that,” Washington told the Post-Dispatch by phone. “In the police report, she said I was holding her down and she was hitting on my chest. None of that ever happened.”
This is the second time this year “Outside the Lines” has alleged wrongdoing by the University of Missouri regarding sexual violence and Title IX. In January ESPN published an article claiming the university failed to properly investigate the alleged rape of Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who later committed
In the aftermath of the report, the university hired outside counsel to investigate Missouri’s handling of the incident, and the counsel found the university mishandled the alleged rape in regards to Title IX. The university has hired a full-time Title IX coordinator, which had previous been a part-time position.
By Sept. 1, the university should have mandatory training prepared for all university employees who are required to report Title IX violations, Loftin said in his talk with reporters.