Register-Guard to sue UO after district attorney denies appeal requesting records from sexual assault case

The Lane County District Attorney rejected two newspapers’ appeal for the University of Oregon to disclose public records from the sexual assault case involving three former Oregon men’s basketball players: Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin. One newspaper, The Register-Guard, will sue the UO in Lane County Circuit Court as a result.

“The rejection of our appeal leaves us with no option but to file a lawsuit against the university,” Register-Guard general counsel Wendy Baker said in the paper Tuesday. “Oregon Public Records law exists to preclude this kind of secrecy among our public servants.”

The other newspaper involved in the joint appeal, The Oregonian, is considering its options, according to its managing editor, Therese Bottomly.

The joint appeal came in response to hundreds of heavily redacted records released to multiple news outlets, including The Emerald.

On May 9, The Oregonian requested ”any emails, text messages or electronic or print records written or received by Oregon president Michael Gottfredson and Oregon athletics director Rob Mullens between March 8 to the present regarding sexual assault allegations against Oregon basketball players.”

The Register-Guard sought similar types of records from Gottredson and Mullens, along with head men’s basketball coach Dana Altman with regards to the alleged sexual assault in March involving Dotson, Artis and Austin. The Register-Guard also requested communications involving a UO athletic department employee named “Cassie,” who the alleged survivor referred to in the Eugene police report from the case.

Those records couldn’t be disclosed under The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) because they involved UO students, according to the UO. In their opinion released Monday, District Attorney Alex Gardner and Chief Deputy District Attorney Patricia Perlow sided with the UO.

KATU-TV and The New York Times also appealed the UO’s redacted records. KATU requested to be added to The Register-Guard and Oregonian’s appeal and was also denied.

None of the three former players were charged with a crime, due to what Gardner cited as a lack of evidence. However, the players were dismissed from the team and suspended from the university in the subsequent months.

Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415

Print Friendly

 Volunteer Position Openings:

--Media Management/Supervisor:  We are looking for someone beyond college age who can help manage students and mentor in a number of different departments. Expertise is not required as organizational skills and interest in guiding others.   --Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.   --College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.   --Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.   All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to charles@fishduck.com  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Victor Flores

Victor Flores

Victor is a senior at the University of Oregon, majoring in journalism and minoring in psychology. Victor was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. He is a fan of the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and Golden State Warriors and has naturally fallen in love with the Ducks since he became a UO student. He currently works for the UO campus radio station 88.1 KWVA as a news and sports contributor and hopes to one day become a professional sports reporter. While he loves several sports, baseball has always been his greatest passion.