(WBIR) ----Newly released cell phone records from Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones show a flurry of phone calls to police and players in the early hours of Nov. 16, shortly after a woman said she was raped by two members of the UT football team.
The phone records corroborate a timeline outlined by former UT player Drae Bowles in sworn declaration submitted as part of a sweeping federal lawsuit brought against UT by eight unnamed women over the university's handling of sexual assaults by athletes, especially football players.
The phone records, released Wednesday after a public records request by The Tennessean, show Jones was regularly in contact with his players, authorities and his boss, UT Athletics Director Dave Hart. The logs only show when calls were made and how long they lasted. They do not shed light on the content of those conversations.
In a statement Wednesday, Jones said he has multiple conversations with players and others when disciplinary issues are brought to his attention.
In his sworn declaration, Bowles said he had come to the aid of a friend who was crying and hyperventilating. The woman told Bowles she had just been raped by A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, according to the lawsuit. Bowles drove her to her apartment, where she was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
Bowles said he was confronted in a locker room later that day by teammate Curt Maggitt, who punched him in the mouth, according to the lawsuit. Bowles later called Jones, who told him he had “betrayed the team,” according to Bowles’ sworn declaration. Jones called later to apologize, according to Bowles’ declaration.
Jones phone log shows an incoming call from Bowles at 3:45 p.m. that lasted seven minutes. It also shows that Jones called Bowles at 9:46 p.m. in a conversation lasting nine minutes.
Jones also tried to call Maggitt at 12:59 p.m. but could not reach him. At 1:30 pm, Maggitt calls the coach back in a conversation that lasted five minutes. Maggitt's attorney has denied that the player punched Bowles.
The logs show that Jones also called Bowles’ father, Dexter Bowles, a captain in the Madison County sheriff’s department, at 8:03 pm.
In late February, Jones said the "assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false."
On Wednesday, Jones said he continues to wish the best for Bowles.
“Regarding the calls to Drae Bowles and his father, I care about Drae as a person and as a player and have frequent communications with players or their parents,” Jones said in his statement released by the athletics department. “I am very comfortable with everything Drae, Mr. Bowles, and I discussed, and I wish him nothing but the very best. My intent was to support Drae and make sure he was ok. There’s nothing more important to me than the ultimate success in the life of our students.”
Johnson and Williams were later arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female athlete in Johnson’s off campus apartment on Nov 16. They face separate trials in Knoxville on rape charges. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Knoxville Police Detective Sam Brown contacted Jones at 8:20 a.m. on the day of the reported rape. The Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch contacted the coach 18 minutes later. Jones and the chief spoke four times throughout the day with Jones initiating all but the first call.
The calls from Knoxville law enforcement officials to Jones came hours before police searched the apartment where the incident allegedly took place.
Meanwhile, at 8:22 a.m. and then again at 8:26 a.m., Jones made the first in a series of six calls to Johnson on Nov. 16.
“Anytime we have a disciplinary issue with a player, we have as many conversations as needed with players, parents, law enforcement, whomever until we can be sure that we are making the best decision possible,” Jones said in his statement Wednesday. “These are decisions that can be life-changing for these individuals. After taking into account all the information we could gather in this case, we made the decision to suspend two student-athletes from the team immediately.”
The logs show a series of phone calls that continued for several days between Jones, Hart and Rausch . There are also multiple calls between Jones and his agent Trace Armstrong in the days after the alleged rape was reported.