Officials: UT knew of rape report before apartment searched
By Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams (right)
KNOXVILLE (News Sentinel) -
Top University of Tennessee administration officials were notified of the Knoxville Police Department's rape investigation into football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams within hours of the accuser's overnight call to E-911 — well before investigators executed a search warrant Sunday night at Johnson's off-campus South Knoxville apartment, where the assault allegedly occurred.
The alerts, including calls to UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and athletics director Dave Hart, followed a formal protocol reserved for “significant incidents” involving students and student athletes, UT spokeswoman Margie Nichols said.
“You have to have a process,” Nichols said. “And it all happens pretty quickly. This is in place for all kinds of incidents. … It's not necessarily only if they're in trouble. It's also in place if there's an emergency situation, or any time that a student may need our help.”
Nichols said the chain of notifications began with UT Police Chief Troy Lane, who was briefed by Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch that a rape investigation had been launched into allegations against Johnson and Williams.