By Lynn Arditi
Published June 13, 2014
By Lynn Arditi
Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE — Two Brown University football players who have been under investigation by Providence police in the alleged sexual assault of a Providence College student were ordered to leave campus just before finals week.
The Brown football players, then freshmen, were accused by the female student, also then a freshman, of sexually assaulting her while she was incapacitated in a Brown dorm room in November 2013.
The Providence police are working with the state attorney general’s office to determine whether the case will go to a state grand jury, Providence police Major David A. Lapatin said.
(The Providence Journal’s policy is not to name rape victims. The alleged perpetrators have not been criminally charged and therefore are not being identified.)
While the alleged assault occurred in November, a Brown University spokeswoman said the university didn’t become aware of the complaint until Brown’s public-safety officials alerted them to the criminal investigation shortly after the student filed a complaint with Providence police on Feb. 13.
The Brown spokeswoman declined to explain what happened between the time the university learned of the investigation in February and its late April decision to remove the students from campus.
“The university considers first and foremost the safety of the campus and we make decisions in a timely way based on the best information available,” Marisa A. Quinn, a Brown spokeswoman, said.
The Providence College student, then 18, alleges in her complaint that she was with friends at the former Louie’s Tavern on Douglas Avenue Nov. 21, where she met with the two Brown students. (City license regulators revoked the bar’s liquor license later that month, citing violations including underage drinking.)
While at the bar, she had one shot of alcohol and then only water, but “felt that she was drugged,” she told police. “Her arms and body fell limp,” the police report said.
She told the police she was carried out of the bar and placed in a taxi by one of the two Brown students. She said she woke up in a Brown dorm room bed and was being asked to perform sex on one of the Brown students, the police report said.
The other Brown student photographed the sexual act, the female student’s lawyer wrote in a court document, and later circulated the photo on the Internet.
The young woman went to a hospital the night after the alleged assault, and later spoke with a sexual-assault advocate at Providence College, according to the police report.
Nine days after the student filed the police complaint, Providence College officials issued a “No Tresspass” order against the Brown students, according to the court documents.
A Providence College spokesman declined to discuss specifics of the case, saying the college “respects the privacy and confidentiality of our students.”
“We take very seriously any report of a sexual assault involving one of our students, no matter where or when the assault allegedly occurred,” Steven Maurano, the Providence College spokesman, said. “We encourage our students to report any such incident to the police and offer to assist them in doing so….”
On Feb. 18, on the advice of a victims’ advocate, the Providence College student filed a request in Superior Court for a restraining order against the two Brown students.
“I am in fear of them and retaliation from both…” she wrote.
The accused students remained at Brown through the spring semester while the case was being investigated until April 30, when Brown ordered them to leave campus, “apparently in light of the pending sexual assault investigation,” John R. Grasso, a Providence lawyer representing one of the Brown students, said in court documents.
Brown made arrangements to allow his client to finish his work from home, Grasso told The Providence Journal Thursday.
“I’m not happy at the way Brown handled it at all,” Grasso said. “Guilty until proven innocent. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.”
On May 19, a week after exams ended, Grasso filed a civil complaint in Superior Court against the Providence College student, stating that she had made “false and defamatory statements” about his client “in reckless disregard of the truth…” As a result, he stated, his client “has been and will continue to be significantly damaged.”
Her lawyer, Thomas G. Briody, of Providence, declined comment.
Superior Court Judge Luis Matos dismissed the complaint.
Both the Brown students are still enrolled at the college and still are shown on the university’s website as members of its 2014 football roster.