Friday, April 18, 2014

University of Oklahoma Investigates Accusations of Sexual Assault by Football Player

The University of Oklahoma is taking its turn in the Title IX spotlight as news comes to light about a student's allegations that she was sexually assaulted by OU linebacker Frank Shannon in January. The local police had received a report of the alleged assault when it happened, and made a decision "weeks ago" not to criminally prosecute Shannon.  But the University has reportedly conducted its own investigation, as it is required by law to do. According to the investigation report, prepared by the university's Sexual Misconduct Office, the student alleges that Shannon, whom she knew, offered her a ride home after a party, but took her to his apartment instead.  She says that once they were inside his bedroom, he pulled her pants down and tried to force her to have sex. Shannon denies the allegations and says that she laid on top of him, kissed him, and removed her own clothes, but then they had an argument and she left while he was in the bathroom.

University officials have not commented specifically on its next steps.  But the Oklahoman newspaper reports that the typical process is for the university's student conduct office to provide copies of the report to the accused student and the complainant (no word on how the newspaper also got to see a copy). The student conduct office meets with the accused student and recommends sanctions.  Those recommendations can be appealed to a disciplinary panel, whose decisions can also be appealed. 

It is also reported that Shannon did not practice with the team on Thursday or participate in last weekend's spring game.