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Tennessee lawsuit: Players assaulted teammate who helped rape accuser

A federal lawsuit filed against Tennessee claims football players assaulted a teammate as retribution for helping a rape accuser.

Tennessee football players assaulted wide receiver Drae Bowles in retaliation for helping a woman who said she was raped by then–Volunteers A.J. Johnson and Mike Williams, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The Tennessean first reported the contents of the filing.

The lawsuit claims Bowles took the woman to the hospital on the night of an alleged rape in November 2014 and supported her in reporting the incident to authorities. The accuser, herself a student athlete, says she was meeting with school officials when she received a text message that Bowles had been attacked by his teammates. She says she then notified the administrators she was meeting with, and they said they would look into the matter.

The lawsuit says Bowles was then attacked a second time, and the woman again notified university administrators. 

The woman is one of five plaintiffs who filed a federal lawsuit against Tennessee, claiming the school violated Title IX laws in its handling of sex assault cases, and has enabled sexual assaults on campus through its student culture and administrative processes.

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Tennessee is also the subject of two Title IX investigations by the federal government. 

The players who attacked Bowles are not named as defendants in the lawsuit, which accuses five Tennessee athletes of sexual assault. 

The lawsuit alleges athletic director Dave Hart and football coach Butch Jones were administrators who were aware of sexual assaults by football players “yet acted with deliberate indifference” and “failed to take corrective actions.”

Johnson and Williams have been charged with two counts of aggravated rape and will each stand trial separately this summer.

[The Tennessean]