Family of Former Vanderbilt Football Player Charles Wright Break Silence
The parents of a former Vanderbilt football player expelled from the university after being found responsible of sexual assault-intercourse and sexual assault-contact have broken their silence.
Ryan and Tyra Wright, parents of Charles Wright, the former player who was expelled after those findings by the Title IX office of Vanderbilt, shared their statement with Commodore Country through their attorney on Thursday afternoon.
Here is their statement in its entirety.
"As black Christian parents, we have raised our sons to understand that they are held to a higher standard of behavior than average men. We have instilled in them the value of education, justice, and respect for others, particularly women. As a family, we believe that any woman, or man, who alleges to have been sexually assaulted needs to be heard and supported.
We have stayed silent in the public regarding the allegations against our son, Charles Wright, out of respect for the countless victims of sexual assault who either suffer in silence or have the courage to speak up. We have also followed all Vanderbilt processes and have not disclosed any of the details related to the Title IX investigation against our son.
However, today as parents we can no longer be silent. We can no longer watch our son slip deeper into despair and depression. We can no longer witness his character be savagely attacked by an audience who does not have the facts. It is the job of every parent to morally and accurately advocate for their child. With the law and the truth on Charles’s side, we would like to respectfully share the following.
Our son was investigated, fully cooperated, and has never been charged, let alone convicted in a court of law, of any type of sexual misconduct. Never. In direct contradiction to the stories on social media, the Nashville Metro Police Department (NMPD) sex crimes unit investigated allegations against our son. After a thorough investigation the case was closed and there have never been any charges filed against him.
Vanderbilt University’s Title IX office conducted its own investigation. We have learned from several sources that the Vanderbilt University Title IX investigation was led by a coordinator that has a history of legal action taken against her related to implicit bias. Our son had no representation or even a parent present to assist him in the process.
Like thousands of college students, he did not understand the Title IX process, and trusted that Vanderbilt University would factually align with the NMPD findings. Our son was charged by Vanderbilt University’s Title IX Office before the office interviewed him and took suspect action against him. When our family was notified of the Title IX office’s findings, we requested an appeal, engaged legal representation, and an independent investigation was launched.
The independent investigation served as the foundation of Charles’s appeal. When presented with new evidence, the Vanderbilt University Title IX Office and its coordinator neglected to thoroughly pursue evidence that would have exonerated our son.
We are proud that Charles completed all requirements to be eligible for graduation from one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Yet, we are deeply grieved that Vanderbilt University has denied his accomplishment by electing not to confer his degree. He dreamed of working in the redevelopment of inner cities and playing in the NFL. Those dreams have been shattered by Vanderbilt University who we believe have failed to afford him a due and fair process because he was a prominent black football player.
As a result, his academic and athletic achievements while at Vanderbilt, as well as his character and career aspirations, have suffered irreparable damage. Our son will forever be judged in the court of public opinion and be the victim of false allegations in every Google search of his name for the rest of his life. This is not a young black man unjustly profiled by the police. Quite the contrary, this a young black man whose university let a woman with a known legal history of bias investigate and ultimately make recommendations in direct contradiction with law enforcement. Vanderbilt has
since terminated this Title IX Coordinator, yet our son continues to be persecuted.
This is truly a David v. Goliath case about an issue that is so sensitive that there are truly no real winners. We want an apology from Vanderbilt University for our son. We demand that the Title IX case be thrown out and that Vanderbilt confer the degree that our son has earned. We have engaged legal counsel to assure that this happens.
If real change is to happen on Vanderbilt University’s campus, they need to do a better job of protecting all students under their watch and commit to fair, equitable, and safe processes."
Respectfully, Ryan Wright, Sr. and Tyra Wright
NOTE: This statement was first published by The Tennessean in an article by Adam Sparks. It was shared with Commodore Country by an attorney for the Wright family.