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USU will separately investigate soccer coach’s comments that it was ‘seduceed into being a victim’ of sexual assault

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Wyoming State University is investigating comments that lawyers say were made by football head coach Blake Anderson, who warned his players during a meeting this fall that it “Never been sexier than being a victim” sexual assault.

Comments from the coach appear on a second recording obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune and are mentioned as part of a lawsuit filed by student Kaytriauna Flint this week.

The lawsuit also refers to an audio recording of USU police chief Earl Morris told players in a private meeting to be careful with sex with Latter-day Saint women because they may later feel “regret” and report it as gratuitous. USU put Morris on administrative leave, saying its sheriff “must have the trust of the campus,” and he then resigned on Thursday.

Some have specifically pointed to the comment that it is tempting to be a victim of sexual assault, and asked the school to examine it. The Aggies will be heading to a national bowl game against Oregon State this weekend.

Coordinator of USU . Title IX Office was also present at the meeting where the coach spoke, as well as the outreach and prevention coordinator school’s Office of Violence and Sexual Assault Information, or SAAVI.

Those two USU officers were tasked with advocating for victims of sexual assault. None of the women immediately responded to the coach’s remarks during the meeting, according to the recording. Nor does it appear that they reported the comments to Wyoming authorities.

In the recording of the 40-minute meeting, the coach went on to warn the team that the players “are at a higher risk of being accused of assault than others because they are athletes and are” the target of the team. some people “.

In response to one of the players’ questions about “false reporting,” he said that “never been mentioned more in the news right now” as a victim of assault.

“And so you don’t have to put yourself in a position where you can create a victim,” he said. “And it didn’t take long. So I it scares people — out of me. “

He told players to be “really, really smart” in relationships to “keep out of trouble”.

(Courtesy of Wade Denniston, Wyoming State University) Blake Anderson speaks at a ceremony in Logan on Monday, December 14, 2020, officially introducing him as head coach of the University’s 29th football team Utah State University.

USU spokeswoman Amanda DeRito said Thursday that the school is reviewing the recording. DeRito said she has “no information” on whether the coach is Anderson, as Flint’s attorney said.

“We are reviewing all the recordings that we have received,” she said. “We have taken some action. We still have a lot of work to do. And we still have a lot to learn.”

DeRito says she is not aware of any action that has been taken against any of the coaches since the recordings were made public. She mentioned, though, that having the school allow the principal to be a priority because of his position in addressing the concerns of all students. She said USU was concerned about how Morris’ comments would damage “trust” in the police department.

Wyoming initially said Tuesday that the statement on the recordings was “inconsistent with the university’s curriculum.”

Attempts to contact Anderson, the head coach, were unsuccessful on Thursday. USU Athletic director John Hartwell did not respond to a request for comment.

Anderson, who is hired by USU in 2020 after previously leading the team at Arkansas State, having an annual salary of $455,000, according to public records.

In the recording, the coach mentions that the team has “very, very close to a zero-tolerance policy here” for sexual assault.

“So if you do something wrong, you deserve what’s coming,” he said. “But if you don’t, you deserve every protection of what the law provides and we’ll do everything we can to help.”

He also said that if a player comes to his office to talk about assaulting someone, he is obligated to report it. “Even if I don’t want to call, I have to. So you need to understand secret space,” he added.

Susan Chasson, a sexual assault assessor who has worked in Utah for 30 years, said on Thursday that she was concerned about the coach’s comments about the victims.

“As a healthcare provider, I know what a lifetime impact sexual assault can have on women’s health, and I also know the majority of women have never come forward,” she said. . “When there are comments like this, what motivation do women have to keep going?”

She added: “It just establishes an environment where women won’t be trusted.”

The process of reporting an attack is inherently difficult, says Chasson, because survivors have to constantly recount what happened and go through the vetting process.

In 2020, the US Department of Justice detailed a model victim abuse at USU and report the allegations against the school football players and fraternity members receive “Minimum Investigation” when an accusation is made.

Chasson believes USU has already started working to correct attitudes there, but said the comments made to footballers were a step back and needed to be addressed from above.

And she wants the Title IX Office there to note why that attitude of a coach is problematic.

“It also needs to start with men, but it is clear that the kind of education given to football players is not appropriate,” she said. “The reality is we will never prosecute every sexual assault case. But we can certainly prevent a lot of damage to women by treating them differently [than is done now]. ”

The Title IX coordinator told the players during the meeting that most of the cases she saw dealt with the student’s failure to understand consent. Two staff members attended to explain the school’s process when an allegation was made.

“Our office is the investigative agency that investigates the allegations,” said the Title IX coordinator. “We also provide support and help to individuals who have experienced deviant behavior. And I want to emphasize first of all that I have seen both sides of that with our team. “

In response to a player’s question about continuing to play after an accusation, she also noted that, “unless there is a really big immediate threat, he or she will continue to play.” until the process takes place, this will take about four months.” She said she wants the players to be successful and “have great careers.”

The coordinator from SAAVI talked about how the process in her office is secure so everyone gets help.

The recordings emerged as Flint, who reported she was sexually assaulted by a soccer player in 2019, in court papers alleging that the university continued to protect its soccer team and set aside women who reported attacks by members.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kaytriauna Flint pictured in her attorney’s office, December 13, 2021. Flint was sexually assaulted in 2019 while she was a student at Wyoming State University.

Her statement about the player comes after USU football defender Torrey Green was was convicted in 2019, after graduating, of sexually assaulting six women while he was a student at Logan College.

— Magazine reporter Jessica Miller contributed to this story.

Editor’s Note: If you need to report or discuss a sexual assault, you can call the Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 888-421-1100.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2021/12/17/usu-will-separately/ USU will separately investigate soccer coach’s comments that it was ‘seduceed into being a victim’ of sexual assault

Yasmin Harisha

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