Two universities, Washington and California, say they are investigating a Seattle Times report linking incoming scholarship recruits to a 2018 police investigation of Eastside Catholic high school football players.
A then-16-year-old girl told police she was sexually assaulted by Eastside Catholic players while being driven around Bellevue in the back of a pickup truck in April 2018. The King County Prosecutor’s Office declined to press criminal charges after a months-long investigation by the Clyde Hill Police Department and other agencies. That investigation included unsuccessful attempts to locate video of the incident alleged to have been shared on Snapchat.
Four players — an adult and three juveniles — admitted having sex with the alleged victim but said it was consensual. The Times reported Saturday that two of those players would attend UW and Cal this fall on football scholarships.
“The University of Washington was recently made aware of allegations reported in the Seattle Times against an incoming undergraduate student for Fall 2020,” Assistant Athletic Director Jay Hilbrands said in a release. “The University takes allegations of this nature very seriously and is working to gather additional information on the matter, adhering to state and federal laws. Due to federal privacy laws protecting student information, the University is not permitted to share additional information at this time.”
The statement from Cal reads: “We are aware of allegations outlined in a media report regarding an incident involving students at a Seattle-area high school and we are working to gather additional information. Due to federal student privacy laws, the University is not permitted to share additional information.’’
Two other players in the truck — one from Lake Washington High School — denied having sex with the girl; police said there was no evidence they had and described them as witnesses to what occurred. The girl told investigators she was drunk and in no condition to give consent.
She also said she believed the two players described as witnesses had filmed the incident. One of those players recently had his scholarship revoked by Stanford University after it sought details about the case.
Four Eastside Catholic players kept playing throughout 2018 and three of them last season as well, helping the school capture the past two Class 3A state championships.
The Times generally does not identify victims of alleged sexual assault. The Times also is not naming the players because they were not charged.
The Seattle Times filed a request for records of the investigation on Jan. 8 and sued the prosecutor’s office Feb. 18, claiming it was taking too long to release the records. But the prosecutor’s office already had given players’ parents third-party notice of the request — allowed under state law — and some obtained a temporary restraining order Feb. 26 blocking disclosure of the records.
A judge lifted the order last month, but parents and players have appealed.