The Winston-Salem Journal is reporting that former Wake Forest University basketball players Gary Clark and Jeff Teague are reeling from the resurfacing of a 2009 sexual assault allegation that they thought was resolved when no criminal charges were filed, their attorney said Wednesday.
"It's just devastating to them, especially having gone through this two years ago and having been open and honest about it," said Mike Grace, a Winston-Salem attorney representing the two players. Clark says the sexual encounter was consensual.
Grace also said that the student who accused Clark of forcing her to perform oral sex in a hotel bathroom had sex hours earlier in another hotel bathroom with a male cheerleader within earshot of other students, then talked about it afterward. The student's attorney on Wednesday called Grace's statements a "gutter-level smear campaign" that is a typical defense strategy of blaming the victim in a sexual assault.
The student, who appeared on NBC's Today show this morning, told police in Miami that Clark sexually assaulted her while Teague stood outside the hotel bathroom in the early morning of March 21, 2009, after the team lost during the NCAA Tournament there. The student says that Wake Forest told her it would deal with the players but did not take any disciplinary action against them, according to an organization working to reduce violence involving athletes.
The student and her attorney say that she is attempting to shed light on the flawed university system of taking criminal acts, like sexual assault, and dealing with them through a university process that is established to protect the image of the university as opposed to the rights of the victim.
Clark finished his senior season with the Wake Forest basketball team this spring and graduated with a degree in mathematics, Grace said. Teague now plays for the Atlanta Hawks in the National Basketball Association.
While the players have moved on, clearly the alleged victim has not. In the Today-show segment about colleges turning a blind eye toward sexual assault, the woman says that it is not acceptable for them to do so. While we find it interesting that Today producers could only find stories that involved alleged white victims and black attackers, the former student has a point. Universities often have mediation processes in place in order to help remedy conflicts. An alleged sexual assault is more than a conflict — it is indeed a crime. Cases involving sexual assault should be turned over immediately to local authorities, who are not affiliated with the university, to handle. What's more important: protecting the image of the university or the rights of all parties involved?
Watch video about the case, featuring the alleged victim, from NBC's Today show below.
Read more at the Winston-Salem Journal.
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