U of O cop advised Eugene detectives on basketball rape investigation
EUGENE, Ore. - KATU's On Your Side Investigators have uncovered new details in the alleged sex assault case involving three University of Oregon basketball players.
The Eugene Police Department turned over nearly 50 pages of records, including dozens of emails, text messages and a bizarre voicemail in response to a public records request KATU filed nearly two months ago. The communications reveal a cozy, close-knit relationship between Eugene police and UO.
"Kris Martes, Kathy Flynn, I just wanted to say good job!" says a congratulatory voicemail from one police sergeant to another.
Normally, a message like that wouldn't get KATU's attention, but in this case, context is everything.
On March 14, a records clerk at the University of Oregon Police Department sent an email to Eugene police. He asked for their report on the alleged sex assault case involving three UO basketball players. The request was made the day the accuser was interviewed by an officer.
Three days later, Eugene police Sergeant Kris Martes turned the request down, writing "not at this time. This is an open, active investigation."
That's the day Martes got the voicemail from Sergeant Kathy Flynn, of UOPD (click here to listen).
"That was exactly the right decision," Flynn says in the voicemail, "and what should have been done and we're trying to keep people from being hysterical over here because they're being hysterical and wanting to do stupid things."
Sergeant Martes says she doesn't remember what that voicemail was about, but she does know Flynn.
Before starting with UO last year, Flynn worked for Eugene police for nearly three decades, and she kept in touch with her former colleagues.
At the height of the alleged sex assault investigation, Flynn sent a text message to a Eugene detective regarding news reports about the background of one of the accused players, Brandon Austin. Before coming to UO, Austin had been accused, but also never criminally charged, in an alleged sex assault case at Providence College.
If, in the voicemail, Flynn was congratulating Eugene police for not giving UO the police report, then that supports exactly what KATU found in its recent "Protecting the Program" special report. The report suggested UO's handling of last spring's sex assault investigation involving three basketball players was consistently beneficial to the team's Academic Progress Rate, a key NCAA benchmark. Programs that fall below minimum APR scoring risk post-season playing privledges, the loss of scholarships and practice time.
Eugene police say it took about two months to give KATU these records because they had to remove information protected by attorney-client privilege. They also say the records had to be reviewed by the city attorney.