University of Kansas

KU police investigating alleged rape of girl, 16, at dorm for basketball players, other male students

McCarthy Hall is just to the south of Allen Fieldhouse on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence.
McCarthy Hall is just to the south of Allen Fieldhouse on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence. rsugg@kcstar.com

University of Kansas police have been investigating the reported rape of a 16-year-old girl at McCarthy Hall, which houses the KU men’s basketball team and other male students.

The alleged rape and three other crimes occurred between 10 p.m. Dec. 17 and 5 a.m. Dec. 18, according to a police report obtained by The Star on Wednesday.

According to the report, those alleged crimes are contributing to a child’s misconduct, furnishing alcohol to a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia. An investigation remains open.

No description of a suspect was released by KU police, including whether the suspect is a student or lives at McCarthy Hall. The alleged offender was suspected of using drugs and alcohol, according to the police report, and officers confiscated two glass smoking devices, one with residue.

“The reason we don’t put out a suspect description (is) because the investigation’s ongoing,” James Anguiano, deputy police chief for the KU Public Safety Office, told The Star.

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Anguiano said if law enforcement felt the alleged crime was a threat to campus, or could be a threat to campus, they would put out a crime alert to students. In this case, KU police didn’t and said in a release that “there is no on-going risk to campus.”

Police said the victim is not a KU student and was visiting residents at the dorm.

The five persons listed as witnesses in the police report are members of the Jayhawks’ basketball team: Frank Mason III, Mitch Lightfoot, Lagerald Vick, Tucker Vang and Josh Jackson. A KU athletic department administrator and two 19-year-old women were others interviewed, according to the police report.

KU coach Bill Self told The Star that some of his players “are listed as potential witnesses to an alleged incident in McCarthy Hall.”

“From what I have learned,” Self said, “a witness can be many things, including a person who can potentially provide information, whether an eyewitness or not, or has been present before, during or after an alleged incident.

“All comments moving forward will come from the university or KU police department.

“If information is brought to us that warrants action at any time, the appropriate action will be taken.”

KU basketball coach Bill Self spoke to reporters Thursday about the police investigation into a reported rape at McCarthy Hall, where the Jayhawks' men's basketball players and other male students live.

KU police said in a news release that the KU athletic department is cooperating with investigators.

In addition to the report that the 16-year-old girl was raped at McCarthy Hall, a report of a runaway child was made from the same address around 4 a.m. Dec. 18. No information about the child was provided in a police report obtained by The Star, though the same two 19-year-old women and a sixth KU basketball player, Carlton Bragg, are listed as witnesses. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, the runaway was located and picked up.

KU played a 6 p.m. game against Davidson on Dec. 17 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The team returned to Lawrence after the game.

McCarthy Hall opened in 2015 as an all-male apartment building operated by KU Student Housing. It is home to 38 students, roughly split between members of the men’s basketball team and upperclassmen.

Federal law, particularly Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, requires that any school that gets federal money must promise that all students have equal access to education, and that sexual assault is a form of sex discrimination.

Experts said that even though the 16-year-old in the McCarthy Hall case wasn’t a student, any report of rape on campus falls under the Title IX rules.

That means that campus police must alert a campus Title IX officer of the attack, experts said, and that office then has 60 days to investigate the case.

Title IX investigations are not held to the same standards as a criminal prosecution. Consequently, a university could use the results of that campus probe to discipline, suspend or expel a student even if prosecutors concluded the evidence didn’t justify criminal charges.

A Title IX investigation is secret, to protect both the victim and the alleged perpetrator. Title IX officers are not required to confirm that an investigation has been launched, but they can choose to reveal a probe into a particular incident if doing so wouldn't expose the identities of people in the case.

A call from The Star on Wednesday to Shane McCreery, KU’s Title IX officer and director of institutional opportunity and access, was not returned.

The Lawrence Journal-World first requested and obtained the police reports on Tuesday and reported the alleged rape was not posted to the KU Public Safety Office crime log until 10 days after it was reported to the department.

After The Star requested a copy of the police reports Wednesday morning, a reporter was told by a police employee they were not available and could not be made public because changes had to be made. The reports were released to The Star a few hours later.

The Star’s Scott Canon and Gary Bedore also contributed to this report

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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