Yale may have prevented accuser from recanting claim that got hoops star expelled
By Evan Lips | March 18, 2016, 20:27 EST
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A female Yale University student whose rape accusation against Jack Montague, a senior and the captain of the men’s basketball team, resulted in his expulsion last month reportedly told a friend she wanted to recant the claim but wasn’t allowed to take it back.
The potential bombshell report, published late Thursday in the U.K. by the Daily Mail newspaper, is the latest in a saga that has already seen Montague issue a statement through his Boston-based lawyer in which he vowed to sue the Ivy League institution over a procedure he claims was “wrong, unfairly determined and arbitrary.”
Montague’s lawyer, Max Stern, on Friday declined to comment through Montague’s spokeswoman, Karen Schwartzman of Polaris Public Relations in Boston.
Yale expelled Montague just three months before he would have graduated. The action came after he had led the basketball team to a slot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s national tournament, which began this week. Montague, 22, was spotted in the crowd Thursday during his team’s opening round upset win in Providence against Baylor University:
That’s former Yale captain Jack Montague walking up the stairs pic.twitter.com/qMT6JtUMgA
— Mike Anthony (@ManthonyCourant) March 17, 2016
Citing a “close confidante” of Montague’s whom it didn’t name, the Mail reported that the expelled student had reconciled with his accuser, who made several efforts to contact him after the alleged assault.
“She texted Jack several times with increasing intensity,” the source is quoted as saying in the Mail’s account. “He replied, ‘is everything alright,’ and she said something to the effect of ‘I’m OK, I’m not pregnant or anything.’”
According to the newspaper the two subsequently met.
“When they did meet again, they hugged and she told him it was over between them, they parted on amicable terms,” the source said during what the Mail described as a two-hour interview. “These aren’t the actions of a person who has been sexually assaulted.”
The story said that when a female friend of the accuser asked her why she didn’t recant her assault claim against the basketball star, she replied: “I can’t. They won’t let me.”
The assault charge against Montague was actually made by a school Title IX coordinator, after speaking with the female student about the incident, which she waited a year to report, according to Stern. The role of the 18 listed Title IX coordinators at Yale includes reporting and investigating sexual misconduct involving students, faculty and staff. Title IX refers to a 1972 law that bars sex discrimination in federally funded institutions.
Yale and New Haven police were not involved in the case and Montague hasn’t been charged with a crime in connection with the allegations.
Montague’s confidante also told the Mail that school officials saw in the Tennessee-raised basketball player the perfect fall guy to deflect criticism over failing to properly pursue similar cases. He was a high-profile, non-minority adult, the first in his family to attend the Ivy League school, whose parents weren’t likely to be major donors.
The source’s assertions echo Stern’s claims. Earlier this week he described Montague as a “whipping boy for a campus problem that has galvanized national attention.”
“We cannot help but think it not coincidental that the decision by Yale officials to seek expulsion of the captain of its basketball team followed by little more than a month the report of the Association of American Universities (AAU) which was highly critical of the incidence of sexual assault on the Yale campus, and the Yale president’s promise, in response, to ‘redouble our efforts,” Stern said.
According to the timeline of events provided by Stern, Montague and his accuser agree they slept together on three separate occasions during the fall of 2014. It was the fourth instance, Stern claims, that resulted in the allegation of rape:
“On the fourth occasion, she joined him in bed, voluntarily removed all of her clothes, and they had sexual intercourse. Then they got up, left the room and went separate ways. Later that same night, she reached out to him to meet up, then returned to his room voluntarily, and spent the rest of the night in his bed with him. The sole dispute is as to the sexual intercourse in the fourth episode. She stated that she did not consent to it. He said that she did.”
Stern said that the female student did not report her claim until October 2015, a year after the incident in question allegedly occurred and during the same months that the AAU released the contents of a sexual assault survey that included students at Yale and more than 25 other schools across the country.
According to the survey, 28 percent of female undergraduates reported experiencing “non-consensual penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or incapacitation” at some point in their Yale careers. The figure, according to the Yale Daily News, was 5 percent higher than the average AAU results.
But the Daily Mail’s source said the reported claim only arose after Montague began dating another girl in his purported victim’s sorority. “I don’t know if she was jealous or not, but it certainly seems more than a coincidence,” the source is quoted as saying.
The Mail said Montague and the girl were in his room in off-campus apartment, and that four other Yale students were present in the unit at the time. Invited out with the group, she chose instead to go to a bar with another man, then later returned to Montague’s bed, the source told the Mail.
Yale has declined to comment on Montague’s case.