College Football

Missouri Failed to Conduct Title IX Investigation on Sexual Assault Allegation Against Football Player

Florida v Missouri

An ESPN Outside the Lines report revealed that the University of Missouri did not pursue a Title IX investigation into allegations of sexual assault against former running back Derrick Washington:

Washington’s involvement with police began in 2008, when a student accused him of rape.

“He grabbed both my wrists with one hand and kept doing [sic] and just proceeded to put his penis inside of me,” the woman told “Outside the Lines” about the 2008 incident. “When I was finally able to push him off me, he just kept saying that if I said anything they would kick him off the football team. And football was his life, so if I said anything, he would kill me and kill himself.”

After their investigation, campus police sent a warrant request to Boone County assistant prosecuting attorney Andrew Scholz, but he ultimately declined to press charges against Washington. Instead, Scholz entered into an agreement with Washington that he wouldn’t be charged as long as he never contacted the woman and took rape awareness classes. Scholz, who left Boone County in 2010 and is in private practice, said there were a number of issues that came up in interviewing witnesses that would weaken the woman’s case, including a comment made to her by her ex-boyfriend that she could use the incident as leverage to get a full-ride scholarship.

This case would fall under the purview of Title IX, under which the university would be required to conduct an investigation, which differs from a criminal investigation, and assess the alleged victim’s needs. The school told OTL that it did not conduct a Title IX investigation. Washington was ultimately dismissed from the football team, but that was after he was accused in three more separate incidents of physical or sexual abuse against women.

One of those accusations occurred when Washington allegedly struck a woman, who was on the school’s soccer team and had gotten into a bar fight with his girlfriend, “with a closed fist on the left side of her face.”  The soccer player and Washington’s girlfriend were arrested and cited for fighting, and the soccer player initially had wanted to pursue charges against Washington. However, according to the police report, she declined to do so after her coach indicated that allegations against a member of the football team would be publicized and potentially jeopardize the soccer player’s scholarship.

This past January, Outside the Lines also reported that Mizzou neglected to alert authorities when a member of the swim team, who later committed suicide, alleged that she had been raped by a member (or members) of the football team.

Related: Jameis Winston investigated by Florida State a year after allegations, two teammates charged with Code of Conduct violations

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