On April 10, University of Oregon students received an email notifying them that a sexual assault had been reported near campus.
The alleged victim was not a UO student or employee, but the UO Police Department is required under federal law to inform students and university employees of certain crimes -- such as sexual assault -- that are reported on and around campus.
But in the days after March 9, when the father of a female college student reported to UO police that his daughter had been sexually assaulted near campus multiple times, the UO police did not notify students about the alleged crime.
The student said she was assaulted by three UO basketball players, one of whom already was under investigation by a different police agency for sexual assault.
The UO Police Department's March crime log shows no report of a sexual assault at a home in the 1200 block of East 22nd Avenue, just four blocks away from the UO campus. It also shows no report of a sexual assault at an apartment complex, where the three players -- Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin -- were alleged to have taken the victim and continued sexually assaulting her. Police did not release where the apartment complex is located.
The federal Campus Security Act -- passed in 1990 and now known as the Jeanne Clery Act -- requires colleges and universities that participate in federal student financial aid programs to report information about crimes on and around their campuses.
The law applies to most higher education institutions, both public and private.
The act was named in memory of a 19-year-old freshman at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania who was raped and murdered by a fellow student in her dorm room in 1986. Clery's parents became vocal supporters of laws requiring schools to disclose campus crime information.
Schools are required to report in a timely manner certain "Clery" crimes, which include violent crimes such as murder, manslaughter and rape. It also includes other sex offenses, such as fondling and use of a date rape drug.
Schools also have to report, among other crimes, robberies, assaults, burglaries and arsons that occur on or around their campuses.
UO officials did not immediately respond when asked several times this week why the UO police did not alert the campus to the alleged sexual assaults involving the basketball students. Officials also did not respond when asked why the reported sexual assault did not appear on the UO police crime log.
UO spokeswoman Julie Brown, in an emailed statement released at 10 p.m. after a digital version of this story was posted at registerguard.com, said that in this particular case, suspects had been identified and a law enforcement investigation was underway, with the possibility of arrests pending. A timely warning notice could have interfered with that investigation, she said.
Brown also asserted that the alleged assault was within the jurisdiction of Eugene, not UO, police. But UO police tried unsuccessfully to reach the accuser, and Eugene police said they didn't contact the accuser until several days after the alleged assault, according to a Eugene police report.
Robin Holmes, UO vice president of student affairs, said earlier Thursday that the university investigates all reports of sexual assault, both on and off campus.
"Even if it happens in a house or apartment complex, if they are a University of Oregon student, or a University of Oregon student was involved, we are going to be concerned" that the crime could happen on campus, Holmes said.
Holmes declined Thursday to comment on how the university handled the three basketball players' case because she said federal privacy law prevents her -- and any UO official -- from doing so.
Dotson, Artis and Austin were investigated by Eugene police soon after the March incident on a suspicion of first-degree rape. Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner declined to charge the players, citing insufficient evidence to prosecute.
The accuser told police that on the night of the sexual encounter, the players were being "complimentary and flattering" to her before the alleged assaults, according to the police report. She said they were persistent and did not stop when she said she did not want to participate in any sexual activity. In one instance, they stopped only when she began to cry, the victim told police.
All three players said the sexual activity was consensual. Athletic department officials have not commented on the players' status with the team since Monday, when the department announced that they are not participating in any team activities.
All three players are now represented by local attorneys. Laura Fine Moro is representing Austin; Greg Veralrud is representing Artis; and Shaun McCrea is representing Dotson.
The UO knew of the alleged sexual assaults involving the three basketball players on March 9. But before the NCAA basketball tournament, in which Dotson and Artis played, Eugene police told the university to hold off on an internal investigation so as not to not jeopardize the criminal investigation.
The university said it received the police report on April 24. However, Eugene police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said a police detective was in contact with UO officials throughout the investigation and told the university shortly after April 8 that the criminal investigation was complete. McLaughlin said the detective advised UO officials that they could pick up a copy of the report at the police department, which university officials never did.
UO officials did not immediately respond when asked to explain the two-week discrepancy between when Eugene police said they informed the UO that their investigation was complete and when UO officials say they obtained the completed police report.
Once a school is notified of a reported sexual assault, school officials are required to immediately investigate the case under federal civil rights law. Under federal guidelines, a school should not wait for a criminal investigation to be completed or charges to be filed before starting its own investigation.
If a school does delay its investigation, federal guidelines say the school should "promptly resume and complete" its investigation once police have gathered all evidence.
Holmes said on Thursday that the university works with Eugene police differently on each sexual assault investigation, depending on the case.
"We would like (the case) to go through the legal process to the end," Holmes said. "We don't want to interfere with that in any way."
The UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence staged a rally against sexual violence on Thursday afternoon, which drew about 200 people to campus, in response to how the UO has handled the case. Dozens of students gathered in the lobby of Johnson Hall, the university's administration building, and chanted "Survivors over sports."
The controversy surrounding the Oregon basketball team comes during the NCAA spring signing period for recruits that ends May 21. Some media have reported that publicity about the sexual assault controversy had hindered the UO's recruiting efforts.