A Vanderbilt player expelled from the school for sexually assaulting an equipment manager was allowed to participate in the team’s pro day in 2019 while that equipment manager was prevented from working the event.
Former Vanderbilt linebacker Charles Wright was found by a Title IX disciplinary panel in October of 2018 to have sexually assaulted a female equipment manager for the team earlier that year. Following the decision against Wright and his unsuccessful appeal in February, Vanderbilt let him participate as an unaffiliated player at the school’s pro day on campus on March 12, 2019.
At that pro day, his accuser Regan Siems told the Tennesseean that she was reassigned from the field where Wright was working out. The paper said it named Siems in its story at her request.
Siems was scheduled to work Pro Day, setting up and breaking down equipment for on-field drills. She said Hunt, head equipment manager, called her a few minutes before she arrived at the indoor practice facility and instructed her to instead meet at the football equipment room in McGugin Center.
“I thought it was going to be the whole manager staff, but it was just me,” Siems said. “[Head equipment manager Jordan Hunt] said, ‘I can’t have you up there because [Wright] is participating.’ So he left me there and said he had a really important job for me — counting uniforms.
“I felt like I was being punished even though I was the survivor.”
In a statement to the Tennesseean, a spokesperson for Vanderbilt said, “Upon learning of this situation during the Pro Day activities, the university asked him to leave, and he subsequently left the premises. Following Pro Day, the university conducted a thorough evaluation and has adjusted protocols and procedures to prevent a mistake like this from occurring in the future."
The Tennesseean’s story dives into the way that Vanderbilt’s athletic department handled Siems’ accusation against Wright into great detail.
Wright has not been criminally charged based on the school’s findings; Title IX panels at universities make decisions of guilt based on different evidence standards. The Nashville District Attorney previously recommended no criminal charges be filed against Wright based on a lack of evidence, but left open the possibility the case could be revisited if additional information emerged.
Wright missed most of 2018 due to ‘injury’
Wright entered the 2018 season after a 7.5-sack campaign as a junior in 2017. He played in the first five games of the 2018 season for the Commodores but never played after the Sept. 29 game against Tennessee State.
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said Wright suffered a leg injury in that game, but said in early October that he would be able to return to practice in preparation for a game against Florida. The Title IX panel ruled against Wright on Oct. 10 and Wright didn’t play in a game the rest of the season as Mason continued to say that he was recovering from an injury. He was expelled from school two weeks after the panel’s decision.
Per the Tennesseean’s report, Wright also received four extensions to his appeal deadline that allowed him to continue to use Vanderbilt’s football facilities through the end of the 2018 season. His appeal of the expulsion was ultimately denied approximately a month before that pro day.
The way that Vanderbilt’s athletic department dealt with the accusation against Wright and his ultimate expulsion came over five years after four players raped an unconscious woman in June 2013. The four players were kicked off the team before being arrested and eventually convicted of aggravated rape and sexual battery.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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