Attorney for WFU Basketball Players Implicated in Sexual Assault Allegations Says Players Are Devastated
Michael Hewlett, Winston-Salem Journal, May 19, 2011
Former Wake Forest University basketball players Gary Clark and Jeff Teague are reeling from the resurfacing of a 2009 sexual assault allegation that they thought was resolved when no criminal charges were filed, their attorney said Wednesday.
“It’s just devastating to them, especially having gone through this two years ago and having been open and honest about it,” said Mike Grace, a Winston-Salem attorney representing the two players. Clark says the sexual encounter was consensual.
Grace also said the student who accused Clark of forcing her to perform oral sex in a hotel bathroom had sex hours earlier in another hotel bathroom with a male cheerleader within earshot of other students, then talked about it afterward.
The student’s attorney on Wednesday called Grace’s statements a “gutter-level smear campaign” that is a typical defense strategy of blaming the victim in a sexual assault.
The student, who is appearing on NBC’s “Today” show this morning, told police in Miami that Clark sexually assaulted her while Teague stood outside the hotel bathroom in the early morning of March 21, 2009, after the team lost during the NCAA Tournament there. The student says Wake Forest told her it would deal with the players but did not take any disciplinary action against them, according to an organization working to reduce violence involving athletes.
Grace said Wednesday that the student exercised poor judgment in her actions, including her sexual encounter with the male cheerleader three to four hours before the incident with Clark and Teague.
“It doesn’t mean she’s promiscuous,” Grace said. “It just means she made poor judgments.”
“That kind of gutter-level victim smear campaign is one she will never engage in,” Clune said of his client. “This story is about universities’ poor handling of campus rape and how young women speaking out can bring change.”
Grace said Clark and Teague thought the allegations were behind them after being cleared by the Miami Police Department and an internal Wake Forest judicial hearing.
Clark finished his senior season with the Wake Forest basketball team this spring and graduated with a degree in mathematics, Grace said. Teague now plays for the Atlanta Hawks in the National Basketball Association.
The National Coalition Against Violent Athletes is helping the student. Kathy Redmond, the founder, said she wouldn’t comment specifically on the student’s case until after the “Today” show segment airs.
But Redmond has told WGHP/Fox 8 that the student delayed filing charges because she was told that Wake Forest officials would take care of it and discipline the players. When that didn’t happen, the student filed a complaint in Miami, she said.