Oregon head coach Dana Altman was far more involved in the investigation into a forcible rape accusation against one of his players last season than he or the school admitted previously.
Kavell Bigby-Williams, a JuCo transfer that played for the Ducks during their run to last year’s Final Four, was under investigation for forcible rape stemming from an alleged assault that occurred during a visit back to his Wyoming Junior College in September of 2016.
An investigative report by Sports illustrated in October revealed that the school violated legal obligations after learning that Bibgy-Williams was being investigated by police in Wyoming, and on Thursday evening, SI published a report stating that Altman was far more involved in the information gathering than he was willing to admit previously.
Oregon had denied that Altman knew because they did not want him “tainting” the investigation, but that does not appear to be the truth. From the report:
In the first 48 hours after school officials learned of the police investigation into Bigby-Williams, Altman had five phone calls with Lisa Peterson, the school’s deputy Title IX coordinator, and another four phone calls with Bigby-Williams’s former coach at Gillette College, Shawn Neary. Both Peterson and Neary had direct knowledge of the criminal investigation into Bigby-Williams, and UO failed to disclose these contacts both to SI and in its letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who demanded more information about UO’s handling of the case in response to SI’s reporting.
The flurry of phone calls, which lasted a total of 41 minutes, began on Sept. 28, 2016, the same day UOPD first contacted Bigby-Williams, a police report shows. The nine calls were also irregular; no other contacts with Peterson and Neary appear in the records except those. The records cover Altman’s personal cell phone activity between Sept. 19, the day the allegation was first reported to Gillette College police, and Oct. 7, nine days after UOPD first learned of the allegation.
This was not the first time that Altman played dumb while his players played through an investigation into sexual assault.
Back in 2014, three members of his team – Brandon Austin, Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson – allegedly committed a sexual assault on a female Oregon student in March. Artis and Dotson continued to play throughout the postseason despite the girl filing a police report. Austin did not play. He was sitting out after transferring from Providence, where he was suspended for allegedly committing another sexual assault.
Altman told reporters did not know of any of this.