LANE COUNTY, Ore. ― Two former University of Oregon basketball players dismissed in 2014 as a result of rape allegations involving a freshman student are suing the university for $10 million each.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson in Lane County Circuit Court, The Oregonian reported. More than four months ago a third player accused, Brandon Austin, filed a lawsuit against the school seeking $7.5 million.
Attorney Alex Spiro, who represents Artis and Dotson, told The Oregonian the suit is “a matter of principle.”
“The University of Oregon failed Mr. Artis and Mr. Dotson ― two remarkable student-athletes ― and must be held responsible,” Spiro said in a statement.
Oregon prosecutors decided there wasn’t enough evidence to criminally charge the players, who say the sexual contact was consensual.
The new lawsuit claims five defendants including: the university; former university president Michael Gottfredson; vice president of student life and interim dean of students Robin Holmes; director of student conduct and community standards Sandy Weintraub; and Chicora Martin, the university’s then-assistant dean of students.
It says they “breached their duty” by engineering a “kangaroo court” hearing with the purpose of finding that Artis and Damyean committed a sexual assault that did really happen.
The suit also alleges that Oregon’s investigation was biased against the players and that each player’s future income has been damaged by the accusations.
University spokesman Tobin Klinger said in an email to The Oregonian the lawsuit is “no surprise since their attorney has reached out multiple times seeking a financial settlement that we did not entertain.”
“As we said when Mr. Austin filed his claims in October, we intend to vigorously defend the university. We remain confident that all these individuals were afforded fair and consistent due process that fully complied with the university’s legal obligations.”
The student who said she was raped settled a lawsuit against Oregon in August for $800,000 after accusing the university of violating her Title IX rights. She argued that coach Dana Altman knew or should have known that Austin was under investigation for alleged sexual assault at Providence College prior to his transfer to Oregon.
The woman met the players at a party in March 2014, the same night the Ducks finished the regular season. The woman’s father called police.
The university was informed of the ensuing investigation but allowed Artis and Dotson to compete in the NCAA tournament. Austin could not suit up because of NCAA transfer rules.
All three players were later suspended from the university.