University of Oregon suspends basketball players accused of rape

PORTLAND Ore. Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:29pm EDT

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PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - Three University of Oregon basketball players who were accused of raping a classmate but have not been criminally charged have been suspended from the school for as long as their accuser continues to be enrolled there, her attorney said on Tuesday.

Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis, both 19, and Brandon Austin, 18, had previously been dropped from the basketball team in May while police investigated accusations that they raped a female student at an off-campus party and other locations in Eugene, Oregon.

Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner ultimately decided against filing charges against the players, citing a lack of evidence.

All three players told police they had consensual sex with the woman. A report issued by prosecutors indicated that the players' stories and the woman's version of the sexual encounters and the order of events are similar, though the woman did not agree that the sex was consensual.

"They are all suspended for a minimum of four years to a maximum of 10 years," said John Clune, an attorney for the accuser, who has not been publicly named. "The length just depends on how long the victim is still at the university." 

"It's been very stressful because if the guys were not suspended it makes it very difficult to continue going to school at Oregon," he added. "She very much wants to stay at school in Oregon." 

An attorney for Artis could not immediately be reached for comment, although a statement he gave the Oregonian newspaper said he was not surprised at the outcome even though "a wealth of evidence supporting consensual conduct was presented." 

Attorneys for the other two players also could not immediately be reached for comment.

University spokeswoman Julie Brown confirmed the school's decision to suspend the players but gave no further details.

"In all reports of any misconduct including sexual harassment, intimidation or violence, the university works to protect and support the students involved," Brown said. "Student safety is our top priority."

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sandra Maler)

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