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Sexual Assult Rumors Finally Put To Bed

District Attorney William Fitzpatrick launched the investigation.
While the primary mission at Orange::44 has always been to chronicle the daily disaster that is Syracuse Athletics, a secondary mission has always been to provide a record of the written word on this website of the misdeeds, both legally and philosophically, of rival school’s players and coaches. In all fairness, that means that it is my ethical duty to convey if Syracuse has any transgressions of their own. Today I am happy to report that three Syracuse players have absolutely no legal troubles. The reason this is a story is that it is Jonny Flynn, Rick Jackson, and Scoop Jardine from your Syracuse Basketball Team.

The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, at the direction of District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, launched an investigation into sexual assault allegations against the three players. This came after the university had heard about the alleged incident and reached an informal agreement with the players and the accuser. At that time, the District Attorney’s Office closed the matter as they felt the interest of justice was being served by the University process. However, a Dean at SU later wrote a letter stating that the alleged victim was still interested in perusing the matter, so the DA’s Office re-launched the investigation, receiving little cooperation from the accuser, and culminating most recently with the three players testifying in front of a grand jury with a waiver of immunity. This is almost never done, where the alleged perpetrators testify in front of the grand jury. Based on that testimony, and the continued lack of cooperation from the alleged victim, the District Attorney issued this letter stating that the three players have been completely exonerated and the matter was closed.

This is good news for the University, which has been battling with major sexual assault rumors since last fall. I myself has received inside news from a source in the Athletic Department that this was an issue and thought that before “Cheesesteakgate” came to light, this sexual assault business would have been the reason then. The District Attorney’s Office continued their diligent investigation and did their ethical duties to pursue the matter in the interest of justice, and after that exhaustive investigation found that the players extra curricular activities did not rise to any criminal level. The players are exonerated and Syracuse fans can now put to bed these allegations once and for all. This is good news for the team and everyone who respects Syracuse University.

will have continued coverage of player’s actual bad behavior later this week, with updated news from Penn State, as well as Pittsburgh. Stay tuned.

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2 Responses to “Sexual Assult Rumors Finally Put To Bed”

  1. # Blogger John

    I think it's important to note -- especially for fans of rival schools who may come and read about this and think there was special treatment here -- to more fully explain the DA's investigation and ultimate decision to issue the letter of exoneration.

    Brian certainly got it right in saying that the DA's office did their ethical duty to ensure the ends of justice were met. At first, this included closing the case because the alleged victim, players, and university were all in agreement for no charges to be filed and for life to go on. This of course changed with this mysterious SU Dean contacting the DA's Office sometime later stating the alleged victim still wanted to pursue charges. So of course the DA's Office reopened the case and continued the investigation.

    It seems that the DA's Office didn't have much evidence with which to move forward. This seems likely due to the alleged victim not cooperating with the investigation (though her family claims otherwise). Still, there's no doubt that the players fully cooperated with the DA. Finally the DA needed to present the case to a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury is made of 23 citizens who sit and hear evidence (usually testimony of witnesses) and then are instructed on the law. The Grand Jurors then vote as to whether, based upon the evidence presented, they believe sufficient evidence exists to formally charge the players with the crimes alleged.

    Defendants or potential defendants generally do not testify at Grand Jury. Usually, a witness at Grand Jury is granted immunity, which means that they cannot be prosecuted for the acts to which they testify. However, for the subject of the investigation to testify, he or she must first waive that immunity, which means that even despite their testimony, if the Grand Jury believes that person committed a crime, they could then indict that person.

    Flynn, Jackson, and Jardine all testified before the Grand Jury, having waived that immunity. A huge risk. And yet, after considering all the evidence before it -- testimony of the three players and testimony of the alleged victim (plus whatever else was presented) -- the Grand Jurors did not vote to indict the players.

    And so the system worked. There was not enough evidence for the Grand Jury to charge the players, and the DA even noted that the alleged victim's story so contradicted all the other evidence that he sees these players as being exonerated and the case being closed. This was not a cover-up or a case of the DA going easy on athletes -- this was a case of the evidence just not pointing to a crime having been committed.

    So for you Penn State fans coming to this site hoping to throw legal troubles back in the face of Syracuse fans... this should put the conspiracy theories to rest.

    Your resident constitutional scholar,

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Thank you John. Remember, for all your legal analysis tune to Orange::44.  

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