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The woman who filed the civil complaint alleging that former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose and two of his friends drugged her, broke into her apartment and gang-raped her while she was unconscious in August 2013 spoke publicly this week for the first time, granting multiple interviews in an attempt to present her side of the story less than three weeks before the scheduled start of the civil trial on Oct. 4.
The woman previously identified in court documents only as “Jane Doe” is a 30-year-old college student who told Janie McCauley of The Associated Press that her family doesn’t know anything about her relationship to the former Chicago Bulls and current New York Knicks point guard, with whom she had what both sides acknowledge was a non-exclusive sexual relationship from late 2011 until July 2013, or the lawsuit, in which she is seeking $21.5 million in damages.
“They have a sense something’s wrong, but there’s no way I can express to them or explain to them how I feel or what I’m going through,” Doe told the AP. “Having to think of alternative ways to communicate that pain is very stressful and it takes a lot out of you.”
Doe’s anonymity has been a central element in what has become an increasingly contentious legal battle.
In May, Rose filed a motion calling for Jane Doe’s parents to be deposed so that his attorneys could “question the plaintiff’s parents about her ‘traditional, religious upbringing,’” and asking the court “to force Doe to reveal her identity,” claiming “she has waived her privacy rights by putting her emotional condition at issue.” Rose’s attorneys have also argued Doe’s “use of Twitter and other forms of social media” — including Instagram, where they say she posts photos “that are sexual in nature [where she is] dressed in provocative nature, is in sexually suggestive poses, and is in photographs indicating that she engages in sexually charged encounters with more than one man at a time” — “belies her apparent desire for anonymity.”
A judge found no compelling reason to publicly release the woman’s real name, meaning Rose’s defense will not be able to use her social media as evidence of her ‘sexual’ nature at trial, but did “allow the disclosure of her name within the realm of the discovery, or fact-finding, process” of the trial. Even so, the judge chastised Rose’s lawyers for the logic of the social-media claim:
Defendant Rose appears to suggest that women who publicly portray themselves as “sexual” are less likely to experience embarrassment, humiliation, and harassment associated with gang rape. Such rhetoric has no place in this Court. No matter how Plaintiff chooses to depict her sexuality on social media, her allegations of rape entitle her to the protections of anonymity.
In June, Rose’s lawyers filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, seeking its dismissal. A judge denied that motion in July due to substantial disagreements on the most important facts of the case between the versions forwarded by Doe and by Rose and his fellow defendants, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton, who have repeatedly maintained their innocence during the pre-trial process.
“The record presents a genuine dispute of material fact as to the central issue in this action: whether Plaintiff consented to sexual intercourse with Defendants in early morning of August 27, 2013,” U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald wrote in his judgment. “Because the jury and not the Court must resolve this central issue, summary judgment is improper.”
[The plaintiff and defendants] don’t agree on much, but they do agree that Rose and the alleged victim met in 2011, dated for a couple of years, and officially broke up in the summer of 2013 after (but not necessarily because) the alleged victim refused to have group sex with Rose. Then on August 26, 2013, she reached out to Rose and he invited her to a party at his house. She arrived for said party with a friend around 9:00 p.m. in a car that Rose provided, and left in a taxi around midnight.
The two sides disagree whether she was drugged at his house, whether she had sex with Rose’s friends at his house, whether or not she let Rose and his friends into her apartment later that night, and whether or not she consented to have sex with all three of them.
As a result, “the record is far too equivocal for this Court to rule in Defendant Rose’s favor as a matter of law,” Fitzgerald wrote. “There can be no doubt that genuine disputes exist as to almost every material fact in this action.”
In August, Rose’s attorneys again filed a memorandum asking that Doe not be allowed to use a pseudonym at trial, writing that no “media restrictions are warranted or necessary [to protect the alleged victim from potential abuse owed to her name becoming public], partly because the media has to some degree lost interest in the case.” Since, however, interest in the case has spiked, due in part to the publication of court documents including depositions in which Rose and Doe recount specific and explicit details of their sexual relationship, and due in part to tabloid stories featuring salacious headlines like “Derrick Rose Accuser Consented to Group Sex… Mad Over Sex Toy” and “Derrick Rose to Rape Accuser: You’re No Prude, You Hooked Up With Nick Young.” (Doe’s lawyers deny that claim about the Los Angeles Lakers guard, for the record.)
Doe decided to speak to the media this week in part because of such headlines, telling the AP she believes she has been unfairly painted as promiscuous rather than as someone who was intoxicated — according to court documents, Doe had drank vodka and an individual serving of wine on the way to Rose’s rental house in Beverley Hills, then tequila with her friend Jessica Groff once they got there, and was inebriated enough to begin picking up burning gemstones out of the fire pit, burning her hand — and the alleged victim of a sexual assault:
Someone who is overly intoxicated cannot legally consent to sex and the woman says she was in no condition to provide affirmation for Rose, who she had dated for nearly two years, let alone the two men with him […]
“As soon as I woke up, I was dressed, I had my dress on from the previous night and I never go to sleep with what I’m wearing. I always prepare myself first to go to sleep,” the women said during the interview in Oakland, a couple of hours from where she grew up in Northern California. “So I had the dress and it was up on my neck and I felt very wet and slippery. There was lubricant all over my bed and on my legs. Everything was tossed in my bed. There was a condom wrapper and a closed one not used.
“That was just shocking to see all that, almost like I didn’t want to believe it.”
Rose’s attorneys have maintained in court filings that he and his friends had no idea Doe was severely drunk, that Doe let them into her apartment, that she was alert throughout the proceedings, and that the sex they had that evening was consensual. Doe disputes all of that, saying she remembers nothing and never gave consent.
Given that this is a rape trial, the question of consent looms large. During a wide-ranging phone interview with Gibbs of ThinkProgress, Doe’s lawyers, Brandon Anand and Waukeen McCoy, and Katherine Redmond Brown, founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, spoke about the perspective some athletes have on consent in general, and how Rose specifically responded to a question about consent during his deposition:
Redmond Brown: […] there really needs to be an understanding of this sports culture and what they understand relationships to be.
There’s this culture of being able to have a female in multiple cities and you’re not exclusive with them, and they are going to ask you to do these things because they do have the power and status to do it, and nobody tells them no. Nobody tells them no. And so when you hire sex workers, when you get into pornography, when you do all this stuff, that becomes normal, and that becomes what is a relationship to them.
So going a civil route over her filing a police report — I deal with trying to file police reports against athletes all the time. That doesn’t happen. So in listening to all of this, and in terms of even the gold digger thing, that’s definitely lawyer-speak terminology, when you have nothing else to go on.
I’m actually interested in what they think consent is. I’d love to ask them, what is consent? I don’t think they could answer that.
Anand: I can say actually that Derrick definitely could not, because we asked him that question in his deposition, and his response was, ‘No, can you tell me?’
Redmond Brown: It’s why Derrick could honestly, if you made him pass a lie detector test, he could pass it. Because he doesn’t see what he did as wrong. That is simply how his culture functions.
Here are Rose’s responses to questions during his June 17 deposition about whether he spoke with Allen and Hampton about why they were going to Doe’s apartment:
Q: Did either Mr. Hampton or Mr. Allen tell you why they wanted to go to Plaintiff’s home on the night in question?
Rose: No. No.
Q: So they just said, ‘Hey, it’s the middle of the night. Let’s go over to Plaintiff’s house’ and they never gave you a reason why they wanted to go over there?’
Rose: No, but we men. You can assume.
Q: I’m sorry?
Rose: I said we men. You can assume. Like we leaving to go over to someone’s house at 1:00, there’s nothing to talk about.
More details from Rose’s deposition on the consent issue were shared during a Thursday conference call that Doe and her representatives held with reporters:
In an interview with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Doe said she felt like there were two Derrick Roses — the shy, reserved one she’d see in private moments throughout their relationship, and one who act differently in the context of his friends:
“I think he must be in a bad place with everything that happened to me. I just feel like knowing that he was able to do what he did, he has to deal with that,” the 30-year-old California woman told the Daily News. “He has to deal with that. He has to deal with what he did to me with his friends. I think that alone is a huge deal for him whether he’s showing it or not.” […]
“The person I met is different from what happened, than what transpired after we stopped talking,” she added. “I just think he’s in a bad place and I know that he’s confused and his environment has really influenced his actions and his understanding of what’s right and wrong.”
In a troubling addendum to the sordid saga, according to Bondy, the Knicks and team president Phil Jackson were “aware” of the suit against Rose when they pulled the trigger on the trade to bring him to New York, but went ahead anyway, and without seeking the plaintiff’s side of the story:
Brandon Anand, who is representing the 30-year-old “Jane Doe,” said he suspects the Chicago Bulls dealt Rose because of the pending lawsuit.
“My first reaction was maybe they’re hiding this from the Knicks and passed him off without giving full disclosures, but it seems to me like the Knicks should’ve done their own investigation,” Anand told the Daily News.
Asked about Anand’s charge that he was never contacted by the Knicks, the team declined to comment and pointed to an earlier statement from Knicks President Phil Jackson that he was “aware” of the lawsuit. […]
Jackson admitted he never felt compelled to investigate the allegations into Rose — saying after acquiring the 27-year-old in June, “We are aware of it. Investigation is a big word.”
One more “big word” in a case full of them, from Rose’s lawyers’ assessment of Doe’s civil filing as “pure and simple extortion by a plaintiff who wants to hide behind the cloak of anonymity while seeking millions in damages from a celebrity with whom she was in a long-term, nonexclusive consensual sexual relationship” to Doe’s lawyers’ criticism of Rose’s legal strategy as a needless “attack on Doe’s femininity, morals and character in order to perpetuate incorrect myths about sexual assault, labeling her as the ‘sexual aggressor.’” More “big words” could be coming, too.
Doe’s attorneys spoke with multiple outlets on Wednesday and Thursday about the rationale behind filing a civil suit rather than pursuing criminal charges. While there’s a six-year statute of limitations for criminal charges in a case of this nature, there’s only a two-year window for civil litigation; given the low criminal conviction rates in rape cases, allowing that window to close might have “meant that [Doe] would never receive any semblance of justice, Defendant Rose would never be held accountable, and other women would not be given encouragement to come forward,” Anand told Gibbs. (The standards at trial are different, too, with criminal cases requiring belief beyond a reasonable doubt and civil cases requiring a “preponderance of the evidence.”)
Pursuing a civil trial, though, doesn’t shut the door on a potential criminal case, and while a spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office told the AP that no criminal charges have yet been filed and no evidence has been forwarded to the DA’s office for review and possible prosecution, Doe’s representatives suggested during Thursday’s call that the option remains open:
Other issues — like a potential suspension by the NBA should he lose at trial, possible complications with morals clauses in his 13-year, $185 million endorsement contract with Adidas, or just wanting to put this behind him before the start of his first season in New York and the final season of his current contract — could still spur Rose to settle the case out of court before the Oct. 4 trial date. (Daniel Werly of The White Bronco has more on those issues, and many, many others, involved in this case.) One legal analyst on Thursday’s call suggested that still might be the most likely outcome:
Whether that’s the way this plays out remains to be seen. Come what may, though, it sounds like Doe’s decision to speak out wasn’t arrived at lightly.
“I think people stay silent because they don’t want to have to deal with everyone finding out, like, hey, this happened to you, now I’m a victim, [cries], now I have to walk around with a ‘damaged’ label, being broken and this and that,” Doe told Gibbs. “You don’t want that. Who can deal with that on top of everything that happened?”
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