KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The University of Missouri admitted Thursday it failed to act and investigate an alleged sex assault by a former star football player.
In 2011, a court convicted Raymore-Peculiar High School alum Derrick Washington of sexual assault. This conviction is in connection with a 2010 incident involving a former athletic department tutor at her off-campus apartment.
On Thursday, an ESPN report alleged Washington sexually assaulted another student in 2008 in her dorm room. In an interview with ESPN, the alleged victim did not want to be identified, but said Washington raped her after she refused to have sex with him.
According to ESPN, Washington told the alleged victim he would kill her if she told the police. After several days, the alleged victim called police and told a detective what she says happened.
After a detective interviewed Washington, his report stated there was probable cause to believe a rape occurred. But prosecutors did not file any charges. The ESPN report says prosecutors agreed to not file charges if Washington did not have any contact with the alleged victim and if he took rape awareness classes.
Despite prosecutors not filing any charges, the law requires all universities to conduct their own, independent investigation of sexual assault claims. University officials do admit to knowing about the allegations.
“We failed to do a Title IX Investigation of that case. That’s true. That was wrong. We didn’t do it. We should have,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said in a conference call with reporters Thursday.
Loftin was not at MU during the alleged 2008 incident. During the conference call, he did stress the University has taken steps to make sure the school investigates all reports of sex assaults on campus.
In June, MU announced those new steps. Among them, Loftin hired a full-time investigator and a Title IX coordinator. MU now holds these two people responsible to make sure the University complies with all sexual discrimination laws.
These new actions came after a January report from ESPN alleged MU did not follow federal laws when dealing with the case of former MU swimmer Sasha Courey. Courey claimed a football player raped her in 2010. The report accused MU of failing to look into these allegations as well.
One year after the alleged sex assault, Courey committed suicide. The University said it did not know about the accusations until after the suicide.
Campus sex assaults have been the center of attention in Washington, D.C. as well. Last month, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill introduced a bill aimed at battling sex assaults on campus. The bill would require all universities to commit to resources, including a specially trained counselor for students who claim they have been sexually assaulted.