Power Forward

At The Intersection of Sports and Culture

A List of College Football Rape Cases

At the Atlantic today, I have a piece on NCAA regulations, hostess programs, and gang rape in college football. I’m supplementing that article here on Power Forward.

1: The Vanderbilt Football Rape Case

2. The Naval Academy Football Rape Cases

3. The Montana University and BYU Football Rape Cases


I’m sure that the following list is incomplete.

These are the cases that we know about. As I said in my piece:

One in five women on a given college campus will be raped, 85 percent of those women will know their attackers, and 90 percent of those rapes will go unreported.

And the problem of sexual assault on college campuses is dire. According to MSN News last month, “students at 29 universities…have brought legal action, accusing institutions of negligence in the handling of reports of sexual violence and violating Title IX, a 1972 law protecting students from discrimination driven by gender.”

According to Benedict and Keteyian in The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football:

Scarcely a year goes by without one or more college football programs being rocked by sexual assault charges. In 2012, players at five BCS schools were charged with sex crimes.


THE LIST:

Notre Dame in 1974 and 1976 (from Deadspin):

There was a woman who in 1974 accused six Notre Dame football players of gang-raping her. She was hospitalized and spent a month in psychiatric care, but that didn’t stop a university administrator from calling her “a queen of the slums with a mattress tied to her back.” There was the 17-year-old St. Mary’s student who in 1976 was raped by three men, two of whom had been accused in the 1974 case. The men were caught in the act. The woman says her resident assistant brought her to a top St. Mary’s official, who informed her one of the men had raped another St. Mary’s student. After that, she tells Henneberger, “I was told to shut up and mind my own business.”


The Oklahoma University case from 1989 that I wrote about briefly at the Atlantic:

Perhaps the best example is that of Nigel Clay, one of two Oklahoma football players found guilty of gang-raping a woman in a dormitory in 1989. In 1992, Clay told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t know how to say it, but, bottom line, I just felt that sometimes, walking around . . . Well, speaking for myself and a lot of other people, we felt like we were above the law,” he said, “like OU would protect us from anything.”

For more on this particular case.


Nebraska in 1994 and 1995 (from The System):

Nebraska’s back-to-back national championship teams in 1994 and 1995 were tarnished by repeated police reports detailing violence against women. In the midst of the championship run, the Cornhuskers’ top lineman pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting Miss Nebraska, a fellow student.

Apparently that Nebraska Player, Christian Peter, had a history of violence against women.


Virginia Tech in 1996:

Two Virginia Tech players were charged with the rape of a woman and dismissed from the team. They maintain their innocence.


Appalachian State University in 1997:

In early 1997 at Appalachian, a student said she was raped by at least six football players while heavily intoxicated. Under North Carolina law, sex with someone too incapacitated or intoxicated to give their consent qualifies as rape.

According to a 1997 News & Observer article, the judicial board acquitted all of the players of forcible sexual offense, which would have resulted in them being expelled. They found five guilty only of lewd conduct, one was suspended and the others simply couldn’t play football while on probation.

Afterwards five of the players sued the woman for libel and slander (the suit was later dismissed).


Colorado in 1997 and 2001 (from my Atlantic piece):

In 1997 and again in 2001, women said that they were raped at parties hosted for football recruits. The later instance involved both football players and high school recruits who, together, allegedly sexually assaulted three women. No charges were filed in either case. The 2001 case, though, led to multiple lawsuits that went through the courts for years, finally ending in a settlement in 2007.

But there was another case at Colorado in 1999:

As a CU placekicker in 1999, Katie Hnida says she endured a kind of sexual hell you can’t imagine. After being verbally abused and molested by teammates, Hnida says, she was raped by one of them.

And July 2013: “University Of Colorado Boulder Faces Federal Investigation For Being Too Lenient On Rapists


University of Washington in 2001:

The plaintiff, identified in court records by her initials, S.S., alleged that former Huskies defensive back Roc Alexander raped her in 2001, and that the university trivialized her complaint. Instead of directing her to police, university officials suggested mediation — a confidential process in which she and Alexander sat down together with the university’s ombudswoman and a senior associate athletic director to discuss what had happened.

No criminal charges were filed against Alexander in this case. Nor were charges filed in a second case, in which another student accused him of sexual assault. In both instances, Alexander settled lawsuits filed by the women for undisclosed sums.

Roc Alexander went on to an NFL career.


Navy in 2001 (I wrote this in an earlier post today; this quote is from a 2001 news article):

The woman who told police she awoke from a drunken stupor to find naked men on top of her remains at the academy, clinging to the remnants of her privacy and wrestling with doubts about agreeing to the deal, according to her mother. She declined to be interviewed for this story but allowed her mother to speak for her.


Notre Dame in 2002:

The alleged victim told South Bend police she left a local bar with the four male students expecting to go to an off-campus party. However, she said she realized there was no party when she reached the house.

The woman told police she tried to resist, but she was unable to escape from the men, who each allegedly raped her. Afterward, one of the alleged attackers drove the woman back to campus.

According to Benedict and Keteyian: “One of them pleaded guilty to sexual battery; the other three were exonerated.”

The one who pled guilty? He transferred schools, played ball at Kent State, and went on to be signed by the Miami Dolphins (here’s a disgusting story about how his victim “waged a smear campaign” against him).


Kansas State, 2004:

Kansas State star Ell Roberson was cleared to play Friday in the Fiesta Bowl the day after a woman accused the Wildcats’ quarterback of sexual assault.


Arizona State University in 2004:

According to documents filed in the civil lawsuit and an ASU police department investigation, Henderson was, as part of his football scholarship, assigned in 2003 to an ASU curriculum known as Summer Bridge, a four-week transition program designed to help incoming freshmen adjust to college life. Henderson, a defensive back, was in trouble within days, according to witnesses and documents discovered in the victim’s pretrial investigation. He was accused of grabbing and touching women in the dorm, exposing himself to female staff members and threatening freshman women.

When confronted over his misconduct, Henderson told an ASU official that he wanted women to fear him and that it was important for him to “show them their place.”

Steve Rippon, the ASU director of academic success, expelled Henderson from the transition program. But Koetter, the head football coach, persuaded school officials to allow Henderson to return to the campus under a zero tolerance policy.

Despite his previous difficulties, Henderson was permitted to live in a dorm when he came back. On March 11, 2004, according to police reports and lawsuit documents, he began openly stalking his victim, talking to her about the Kobe Bryant rape case and calling her repeatedly on her cell phone.

Early on the morning of March 12, Henderson entered the victim’s dorm room through an unlocked door. The victim had been drinking and was asleep. As Henderson attacked her, police say, she awakened and recognized Henderson. Emergency room records show injuries that could not have occurred in consensual sex.


BYU in 2004 (I wrote about this in an earlier blog post; this quote is from a 2004 news article):

Provo police launched an investigation after the girl reported that she went to the off-campus apartment of Bennett and Mathis on Aug. 8, watched pornography with a group of players, drank vodka with them and then, after passing out or falling asleep, woke up while being raped by three or four players.


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2005:

Six football players at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga have been charged with taking turns raping a drunken student after a party.

Police said the woman told investigators she got drunk at a party and became separated from her friends. When the party began to break up about 2:30 a.m., she said, she was taken to the apartment, where seven to 10 men took turns having sex with her. She said she objected and hit them, but they forced themselves on her.


University of Michigan, 2009:

In 2009, Brendan Gibbons was a red shirt freshman field goal kicker for the University of Michigan football team. However, before his first varsity kick, he was arrested shortly after the Michigan/Ohio State football game in 2009, for raping an 18 yr. old freshman at a party in the Chi Psi fraternity house. [...]

Shortly after the woman reported the rape, she began to receive threats from Gibbons roommate and fellow football player, Taylor Lewan (now an All-American), that he would rape her again if she pressed charges against Gibbons.


Notre Dame, 2010. After this case came to light, following the victim’s suicide, Dave Zirin called for the program to be shut down:

After the alleged attack on August 31, Seeberg wrote an account of what took place, was treated at a local hospital and gave DNA samples to the authorities. There is no evidence that the case was taken seriously, and the accused player, who has been neither charged nor cleared, remained on the team. In the days following her statement to police, Seeberg, according to reports, became fearful that she would be outed as someone hurting the team. She made a point of wearing her Fighting Irish gear around campus and getting fake ND tattoos on her face, all the better to blend in. It all proved to be too much for her, and the 19-year-old, who had dreams of becoming a nurse, took her own life. She was found in her dorm room by rape-crisis coordinators who were alarmed that she’d missed her latest session.


Montana in 2010 (I wrote about this in an earlier blog post):

In 2010, a woman was reportedly raped by four University of Montana football players. Police said there was not enough evidence to press charges. Early last year, Montana’s coach and athletic director were fired, possibly for helping to minimize and/or cover up this crime. Things are so bad at that particular institution, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education are each handling their own investigation into the alleged sexual assaults by football players.


University of Miami in 2011:

A University of Miami football player was released on bond Thursday after he was arrested for allegedly raping a woman on campus, police said.


Appalachian State University in 2012:

Appalachian State University has found four students guilty of sexual misconduct that was perpetrated on another ASU student after an off-campus frat party that ended at 2am.

Three of the four men were ASU football players.

ASU found the four men guilty and suspended them from campus for eight semesters, the minimum sanction for sex offenses delineated in the Code of Student Conduct.


Naval Academy in 2012 (I wrote about this in an earlier blog postthis quote is from a 2013 news article):

The three men are accused of sexually assaulting the midshipman at an April 2012 off-campus party.


University of Texas in 2012:

Two University of Texas players allegedly raped a woman in San Antonio while there for their bowl game. Neither was charged and are back on the field.


Ohio State, 2013:

Ohio State University police are investigating an allegation of rape involving multiple Buckeye football players.

10TV News obtained the warrant filed Tuesday that spells out the allegations against the multiple players, who 10TV News did not name because they have not been charged.

I can’t find anything beyond reports of the initial warrant.


Florida State in 2013:

Florida State Seminoles receiver Greg Dent was arraigned on second-degree sexual assault charges Monday, a felony count that likely means an indefinite suspension for the senior-to-be and a potential jail term of up to 15 years.

Dent was arrested Sunday night on a single count of sexual assault on a victim over the age of 12.


Arizona State University in 2013:

The victim was carried to her bedroom by Garcia and a friend. Garcia said that he wanted to talk to the victim, so Garcia was left alone with the victim, police said. The victim said she could see and hear but could not cry, yell or move her body when Garcia allegedly raped her, according to the police report.

Witnesses told police the bedroom door was locked and they could hear the victim choking or coughing, the police report said, and Garcia opened the door.


Vanderbilt in 2013 (I wrote about this in an earlier blog post):

Vanderbilt University has recently dismissed five football players. Four of them have been charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery for allegedly participating in a gang rape of an undergraduate in a dormitory on campus this past June.

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