Knoxville PD releases 2015 UT rape investigation file - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Knoxville PD releases 2015 UT rape investigation file

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(KNOXVILLE) The Knoxville Police Department on Monday morning made public the case file that details its investigation into a reported September 2015 forcible rape involving a former University of Tennessee football player.

WBIR 10News is not naming the former player because he was never charged.

His attorney, David Eldridge, told the station Friday “he did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Records indicate that Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen chose not to prosecute.

The files were obtained by WBIR under the state’s open records law.

The former player, who was age 22 at the time, is very briefly noted – although not named – in a federal discrimination lawsuit against UT that involves eight current and former players. The lawsuit against the University of Tennessee alleges that the college fosters a culture of discrimination against women and permissiveness toward male athletes.

The records show there was initial disagreement about who actually might have assaulted the victim. Another young man was identified as the possible suspect but later discounted by police.

Also, some of the alleged victim's friends told police the alleged suspect had admitted in a confrontation that he went to "third base" with her and that he had digitally penetrated her. But the victim herself did not relay that to police when recalling the confrontation at the young man's apartment afterward.

REPORT OF A RAPE

According to the KPD investigation, authorities met with the victim at the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee around noon Sept. 23, 2015. The woman, a 20-year-old UT student, told officers that she had been raped early Sept. 20 at a Lake Avenue apartment complex. She and the suspect lived in different apartments at the complex.

She told authorities that on the night of the incident she went with her parents and some friends to the Old College Inn bar on Cumberland Avenue. The Vols had just beaten Western Carolina in a home football game.

The woman told police she had two shots at OCI before heading up the street to Uptown Bar for some beers with her friends.

At this point, the woman told officers she had “trouble remembering things.”

“She did remember being with friends and that’s what she remembers last before waking up in bed with a strange, white male suspect,” according to the police report. “(The victim) stated she awoke to (the man) shaking her and telling her that she needed to leave.”

She left the apartment about 6 a.m., the investigation indicates.

The woman went to her apartment, showered, had lunch with her parents and then met up with her friends.

She told her friends about waking up with the stranger. That day, they then went to the man's apartment where she asked him what happened. He told her that he “found her walking drunk on the street and asked (if) he could walk her home.”

She then agreed to spend the night with him, according to the man, but they did not have sex.

The victim told authorities that she was a virgin but “that she was bleeding from her vagina after the incident.” She also told authorities that she had “bruising in different areas of her body," and that she thought she had sex with him and that he had even held her down.

She also recalled to authorities hurting after the encounter with the young man.

Investigators reviewed security videotapes of the two walking to the man’s apartment, but it didn’t appear she was forced into his apartment.

Friends of the young woman interviewed by police described her as a “good person, goofy, truthful, and not sexually active.” They also said she was “an average drinker.”

The woman’s friends also told police that the woman said “there was semen in her rectum and vagina.”

Several of the alleged victim's friends recalled going with her later Sept. 20 to the man's apartment.

"(One of the friends) stated the suspect never admitted to having sex with (the alleged victim), but did state they got to third base," a report shows.

Another friend recalled for police that "the guy said they only got to second base and that he (digitally penetrated) her," the report shows.

THE WOMAN'S RECOLLECTION

As the days passed, the woman told authorities she recalled more about what had happened.

On Sept. 25, she sent an email to KPD Investigator Amy Jinks: "I was wondering if there was any news on the name of the man from my case."

On Sept. 28, she sent Jinks another note: "Just checking in, seeing if any progress has been made as far as a dna (sic) sample."

The next afternoon, Jinks replied: "I tried calling but your voice mail is not set up. What is a good time to call you? I have a few questions about the guy you are saying is the suspect."

Then, early Oct. 7, the alleged victim sent Jinks a longer note.

She wrote that she'd been "laying in bed and was trying to go to sleep when a few things came back to me. It's not anything that will help find the guy, just some stuff about what happened. I made a note of it in my phone and didn't know if I should send it to you or if it matters. Just let me know if you want to see it."

Here's the note she made to herself, also dated early Oct. 7:

"I remember.

My arms were being held at one point, above my head I think.

A lot of tears running down my face I was crying.

I couldn't say no or get the word stop out because of the alcohol but I was trying to make it stop...I'm assuming that's what the bruises are from

THAT is why I feel guilty THATS why I feel like it's my fault.

He was making me...oral...that's why my neck was so stiff from trying not to "

When asked by investigators why she waited several days to report the incident, the woman said: “I think a part of me was like wishing it didn’t happen, hoping it didn’t happen since I didn’t remember it. I just couldn’t – I just sat on my friend’s couch, laying there, just trying to sleep.”    

EXAMINING THE EVIDENCE

Security footage from the apartment complex showed the young man and young woman walking about 3:48 a.m. Sept. 20 to his apartment. At one point he had his arm around her as they walked by stairs, the video showed.

The man, who was identified in a police lineup, agreed to supply a DNA sample.

The TBI tested several items including a dress and panties the woman wore the night of the alleged assault. The expedited tests were negative for the presence of semen in the young woman or on panties and a dress, according to a Nov. 17, 2015, report.

On Dec. 8, 2015, the district attorney general told KPD that she was closing the case.

"After reviewing the file and speaking with (the victim), it is my opinion that no sustainable prosecution exists, and (I) respectfully decline prosecution," Charme Allen wrote in an email to Detective Timothy Riddle. "As I explained to (the victim), if something factually should develop in the future that warrants further case review, please do not hesitate to forward to my attention. Unless and until I receive additional information regarding this case, it is closed due to an unwarranted prosecution."

IN THE PLAYER'S DEFENSE

On Friday, Knoxville defense attorney David Eldridge released a statement on the former player's behalf:

"This incident and facts have been examined by the Knoxville Police Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Knox County District Attorney’s office and the University of Tennessee’s Office of Student Conduct," Eldridge's statement reads.

"The KPD thoroughly investigated; the TBI found no semen or DNA evidence whatsoever; and Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen personally conducted a review and she determined there was no case to pursue.

"UT’s Office of Student Conduct also did a thorough investigation and determined that there is no basis upon which to take any action against this young man.

"Therefore, it bears repeating that the evidence shows that this young man did nothing wrong."

Eldridge also represents former UT football player Michael Williams, indicted last year by a Knox County grand jury in the rape of a woman at a South Knox County apartment complex in November 2014.

Williams is a co-defendant with former player A.J. Johnson.

WBIR 10News has obtained the case file from KPD. Refresh the page for the latest updates and more details on WBIR.com.

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