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Feds Launch Tennessee Sexual Violence Investigation in Light of Numerous Allegations Involving Volunteers Football Players

by: Esteban On  Friday, July 17, 2015

tennessee sexual violence investigation

The United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has launched an investigation into the way the University of Tennessee handles sexual assault investigations.

In an email to faculty, staff, and students, UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said the university had been notified that an individual had filed a complaint with the OCR regarding the school’s response to a report of sexual assault.

“While privacy laws prevent the university from disclosing the details of the complaint,” Cheek wrote in the email, “I can assure you we will cooperate fully with OCR as it investigates the complaint.”

News of the Tennessee sexual violence investigation comes as the university has come under fire for the number of football players being accused of sexual assault. Here is a timeline of the accusations:

  • April 2013: Running Back Marlin Lane named a suspect in the rape of an 18-year-old high school student and suspended by the team. Prosecutor declined to press charges when alleged victim wouldn’t testify. Lane reinstated to team two months later, later graduated.
  • September 2014: Unnamed player accused of sexual assault by freshman student. University investigation deemed the sexual intercourse was consensual. Player remains in good standing with the team.
  • November 2014: Michael Williams and AJ Johnson indicted two counts of aggravated rape in case involving another female athlete. Williams claimed to have “aided and abetted” Johnson. Case is still pending.
  • February 2015: Defensive back Riyhad Jones named a suspect in a sexual assault at an off-campus apartment. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to press charges.
  • April 2015: Wide Receiver Von Pearson suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of an investigation into alleged rape of a 19-year-old Tennessee student. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to press charges.

Obviously, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and not all the men listed here were or ever will be proven guilty. But when there are this many allegations, something is wrong. It definitely cannot hurt to have the feds take a look.

Hat Tip – [Tennessean]