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Alleged Oregon sexual assault victim breaks silence in letter to fellow Ducks

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Oregon head coach Dana Altman talks to his team during a timeout during the second half of a second-round game against the BYU in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. Oregon won 87-68
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Oregon head coach Dana Altman talks to his team during a timeout during the second half of a second-round game against the BYU in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. Oregon won 87-68. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The  victim of an alleged sexual assault at Oregon in March involving three men's basketball players  broke her silence this week by issuing an open letter to her fellow Ducks through her Colorado-based attorney, John Clune.

The woman credited the Dean of Students office at the school  for helping her navigate a difficult few months and questioned the culture in the athletic department that 'prioritizes winning over safety of our students.'

The alleged assault took place March 9, according to police reports, but was not reported until five days later on March 14. The victim alleged she was assaulted by Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin who were allowed to play in postseason basketball games even when school officials knew they were part of an ongoing police investigation. That led to protests and outrage on campus.

The school later explained that police had asked the school not to take any action against the players that might interfere with the investigation. The school later suspended the three players before ultimately removing them from the team.

Dotson and Artis told police the encounters were consensual.  Lane County prosecutors chose not to pursue the case in mid-April. Here is a look at the letter from the alleged victim.

An open letter from a fellow Duck:

The past few months have, undeniably, been the hardest and most challenging time in my life. This is such an overwhelming experience and one that I hope that no other student on campus ever has to live through. Given what has transpired on campus recently, I have at times wondered whether I ever should have told anyone about what had happened.

I know a lot of people are angry. I am angry, too. I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students. I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene. I think that students, faculty, and other community members have been asking some very needed questions of our athletic department, and I am not satisfied with the answers they have provided. I think that we all deserve better explanations and real transparency.

Despite my frustration, it is important to me to thank the Dean of Students office. They have been very kind and supportive of me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m not sure I would still be on campus if it weren’t for their help.

I know this has stirred up a lot of issues on campus and some of them are bigger than my incident. My sincere hope, though, is that as a school UO can get through this and come out in a better place at the end. I still love our school and I want it to be the best and safest place anywhere in the country.

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[Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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