Former U of O basketball player under investigation for sexual assault
A former University of Oregon basketball player is under investigation for sexual assault.
Kavell Bigby-Williams played last season while police questioned him in the case.
Bigby-Williams recently announced he is leaving the U of O. On June 20 he announced on Twitter that he is transferring to Louisiana State University, according to the Daily Emerald who first reported the allegation.
He didn’t respond to a question asking if he was leaving the U of O because of the investigation. However
Bigby-Williams is accused of sexually assaulting a woman between the overnight hours of Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 last fall.
According to a U of O Police Department police report obtained by KATU, the sexual assault reportedly occurred at an apartment near Gillette College in northern Wyoming.
Campus police for the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD) told KATU they cannot comment on an open investigation, but said they are investigating this allegation against Bigby-Williams since it was reported Sept. 18, 2016.
Bigby-Williams was a student and player at Gillette College before he transferred to the U of O in 2016.
He played under Ducks Coach Dana Altman and helped the team get to the Final Four in March.
U of O President Michael Schill did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement the university said it takes any allegation of sexual assault involving its students and athletes seriously. It also said it was asked in the fall of 2016 to help NWCC police to interview Bigby-Williams, but he declined through an attorney.
"This was a scenario that stemmed from a law enforcement inquiry by the Northern Wyoming Community College police," the university said in its statement. "UO police have no jurisdiction in Wyoming, and it would be inappropriate for the UO to provide details on an inquiry led by another law enforcement agency."
Vanessa Timmons, the executive director of Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence said about cases like this:
"What we hear from survivors pretty much across the board is that when they're dealing with a high-profile predator or perpetrator, that the perpetrator has all of the inherited credibility, all of this inherited goodwill from the role, their gender, their status."
Timmons said that often leads to victim blaming.
She said Oregon universities are better than others on addressing sexual violence on campus, but there is room for improvement through education and transparency.
This allegation comes three years after three former basketball players were accused of sexual assault in a separate incident. The Lane County district attorney later dismissed the charges in that case.
Gang-rape survivor Brenda Tracy tweeted, "Doesn't look like [Coach] Dana Altman learned anything from the gang rape scandal a few years ago."
In a follow-up tweet, she wrote this.
Tracy told KATU that UO football Coach Willie Taggart invited Tracy to speak with the team. Taggart is a recent hire. Tracy says she has never been invited to speak to the men's basketball team.
"You would think that the very first place I would speak," Tracy said in a Twitter message to KATU's Chris Liedle. "Given the ongoing issues of the [men's] basketball team and the fact that I'm in their backyard -- I've always wondered why I haven't been invited to speak to the team and staff."
University of Oregon's full statement:
Recent media coverage of an allegation of sexual assault by a former member of the UO’s basketball program has created some questions about the university’s response. The University of Oregon takes very seriously any allegation of sexual assault or misconduct regardless of whether it involves a student athlete.
In most cases involving accusation of sexual assault, it is impossible and inappropriate to publicly disclose details to protect the rights of victims and reporters under Title IX, to comply with federal student privacy laws, and to provide those accused with appropriate due process.
This was a scenario that stemmed from a law enforcement inquiry by the Northern Wyoming Community College police.UO police have no jurisdiction in Wyoming, and it would be inappropriate for the UO to provide details on an inquiry led by another law enforcement agency.
The UO Police Department was contacted in the fall of 2016 to assist the NWCCD police in an interview with Kavell Bigby-Williams. UO athletics assisted UOPD in contacting Bigby-Williams, who declined to be interviewed through his attorney. That information was provided to the NWCCD Police Department.
Information detailing allegations was not shared with the coaching staff to protect integrity of the inquiry. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ only role was to provide contact information for the player and to coordinate with the university’s Title IX coordinator.
University processes, then as now, involve communication between campus police, the Title IX office and athletics administration to determine whether there is a risk to the campus community that requires immediate action. In September 2016, there was insufficient information to warrant interim action. Since September, UOPD has received no further information or requests for assistance from the NWCCD police suggesting the inquiry had advanced in any way.