Alleged sexual assault victim files lawsuit against University of Oregon, head coach Dana Altman

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When it was announced in early May that Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and Brandon Austin were dismissed from the Oregon basketball program in early May after they were alleged (but not charged) to have sexually assaulted a female student, there were a number of questions that remained unanswered.

One focused on whether or not head coach Dana Altman and athletic director Rob Mullens were truthful in their assertion that while they were both aware of the fact that Austin had been suspended and was under investigation at Providence College, they did not know the specifics of the case.

Thursday it was reported by Andrew Greif of The Oregonian that the alleged victim has filed a federal Title IX lawsuit with the University of Oregon and Altman being named as defendants. In the suit it is alleged that Altman and other school personnel did know why Austin was suspended at Providence and ultimately decided to transfer.

“He did not give specifics so my line of questioning probably didn’t go deep enough there in retrospect,” Altman said May 9. “But I did not have a specific reason.”

The suit disputes that.

“Upon information and belief, Altman and other UO personnel were fully aware of the basis for Austin’s season-long suspension,” it says. “In fact, Austin’s mother, when asked about what the UO coaches knew, said, ‘We told them everything. They knew everything.'”

Also of note in the lawsuit is the fact that the plaintiff is alleging that the school did not expel the three players or note on their transcripts the reason why they were dismissed from the school. In theory, had the circumstances surrounding their dismissals been noted on the transcripts it would have been even tougher for the players to find new places to play.

This will be a lawsuit that draws a lot of interest nationally, especially with the federal government releasing a list of 55 schools being investigated for possible violations of federal law with regards to the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints last May. How this lawsuit plays out will in all likelihood impact the way in which schools (and athletic departments) address such issues moving forward.