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Former Basketball Players Who Faced Rape Allegations File Suit Against UO

Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson are following in the footsteps of fellow former Oregon basketball player Brandon Austin by suing the University of Oregon over rape allegations, according to a press release from Eugene attorney Brian Michaels who says he is local counsel for a New York firm.

Artis and Dotson are alleging they faced discrimination as males and are suing for more than $9 million each, making the lawsuit come to more than $20 million.

All three players were dropped from the UO Ducks basketball team and suspended from school after a rape investigation into an incident at an off-campus party involving them and a young woman who accused the players of raping her. 

Then-district attorney Alex Gardner didn't file charges, citing among his reasons that the 18-year-old woman who alleged she had been raped by the three players, was not so drunk that she “appeared to have been affected to the point of perception or memory impairment.” Or as EW put in in a 2014 story, "In other words: She wasn’t drunk enough." 

The press release from Alex Spiro, Esq. Brafman & Associates, P.C. says only:

Today, we have filed suit against the University of Oregon. The school and its administration failed Mr. Artis and Mr. Dotson — two remarkable student athletes — and must be held responsible. 

The suit names  the University of Oregon as well as Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards Sandy Weintraub, Assistant Dean of Students Chicora Martin, Vice President for Student Life Robin Holmes and former president Michael R. Gottfredson as individuals.

Among its allegations, the suit alleges gender bias against the male students, writing that "there was an erroneous outcome from a flawed proceeding, in violation of Title IX." And that the UO, "in violation of Title IX, demonstrated a deliberate and systemic indifference to the rights of each of these Plaintiffs based exclusively upon their gender."

The suit specifically alleges that 

The University created an environment in which each of these Plaintiffs, as an accused male student was so fundamentally denied due process as to be presumed guilty and thereby assured a finding of guilt.

 Such a biased and one-sided process deprived each of these Plaintiffs, as a male student, of educational opportunities based exclusively upon their gender.

The University conducted its “investigation” and subsequent hearing in a manner that was biased against these accused, based exclusively upon their gender.

 From the outset, the investigation and hearing processes were slanted in favor of the female accuser, because of her gender. The University’s representatives, including its president, accepted her statements at face value despite the prosecutor’s statements, and granted the female accuser the presumption of truth because she is female.

The suit alleges the university is at fault for the player failing to play at Division I schools and diminishing their chances to play professionally in the NBA. A 2014 complaint by former Eugene City Councilor, current men's rights advocate and one-time member of the Communist Party of Oregon Kevin Hornbuckle also made Title IX allegations about the case.

The suit seeks "economic damages in the form of lost income, and seeks at least $9 million for economic damages; and has sustained and will continue to sustain noneconomic damages, and seeks $1.5 million in noneconomic damages" for each of the two players. As well as attorney's fees.

The young woman who alleged rape  settled her lawsuit against the school for $800,000 and four years' paid tuition as well as promise of changes in how the school assesses transfer students.

Earlier today senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley issued a press release in which they praised the leaders of the Pac-12 Conference for responding quickly to their request to "consider several possible reforms, including one which would make transfer student athletes ineligible to enroll in a Pac-12 school if they’d been dismissed from a previous school for serious misconduct violations."

The young woman's suit had said that "Altman and other staff at Oregon's flagship public university recruited Austin despite knowing he previously had been suspended from Providence College in Rhode Island for allegations of sexual misconduct in 2013," Reuters reported.

The filing by Dotson and Artis' attorneys that was submitted in Lane County Circuit Court is below.

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