UPDATED January 11, 3:40 p.m.: Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar, as the UW media department promised, steadfastly refused to discuss the sexual-assault allegations at today's press conference at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Addressing a standing-room-only crowd of reporters, Romar said simply, "We've been informed there is an investigation about an allegation regards to one of our student-athletes. And I want you to know it's something that we take very seriously at this point. I'm going to repeat that, it's very serious. However, there is not nearly enough information at this point for us to determine what's going to be done here. Right now we just have to give it a little bit more time to decide what's going to come of this.."
Romar said that all the members of the team are still practicing as usual, and that everyone on the roster would make the trip to the Bay Area for the upcoming games against Stanford and Cal.
At one point, after several questions resulted in some variation of the phrase "No comment," Romar joked that he was going to have to start simply holding up a piece of paper with those words written on it to save everyone some time. On a few occasions, however, he relented and obliquely addressed the situation.
Wearing a gray dress shirt and black slacks, the coach was unusually soft-spoken as he addressed a reporter who asked if the allegations would be a distraction for the team. "With our group, there are things you battle all the time, but this is unique," he said. "It's something that's ongoing. Hopefully . . . when something happens you're prepared to deal with it."
photo by Keegan Hamilton A large crowd gathered to watch Lorenzo Romar not answer questions.
"Adversity is always interesting, how people handle it," he added later.
Asked if the school's refusal to name the player at the center of the alleged attack could be perceived as an indictment of the whole team, he replied, "Publicly, maybe it does. I don't know."
Romar finally broke the tension when someone asked him for his thoughts on Isaiah Thomas being named the Pac-10 player of the week. He shifted in his chair, flashed a smile, and said, "I'm going to talk to you," and proceeded to talk about nothing but basketball and his team's upcoming games for the next 15 minutes.
Percy Allen has the transcript of the entire conversation over on the Seattle Times' Husky Men's Basketball Blog.
Original post below . . .
A "prominent" University of Washington student athlete is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl after the pair became friends on Facebook, according to KIRO 7 news and a Seattle Police report. The UW athlete's identity is unknown, but the school just issued a statement containing a non-statement about the situation, and saying the men's basketball team and coaches will not be talking about it at tomorrow's "open media session."
Here's the full statement, sent out at 6:20 this evening:
Statement Regarding Police Investigation of UW Student-Athlete
The department of intercollegiate athletics has learned of a police investigation based on allegations surrounding a current UW student-athlete.
At this time, the university does not have comment on the matter.
Furthermore, neither department officials, nor members of the UW men's basketball coaching staff or team will comment on the matter at tomorrow's open media session.
Questions regarding the investigation should be directed to the Seattle Police Department.
KIRO has the scoop and a pdf of the police report.
According to the police report, on Saturday night the girl told her parents she was going to the movies at the Bellevue Square Mall. Instead, she and some friends went to an apartment "near Garfield High School" and met the presumed UW player.
The report says that "while she was in the apartment [redacted] forced her to perform oral sex on him and he penetrated her vagina with his fingers several times after she told him not to."
She called her aunt and uncle, who picked her up at 23rd Avenue and East Cherry Street. The aunt told police that the girl was crying when they picked her up and she told them that she'd been raped. The girl told her relatives where the incident occurred, and they circled back to the apartment before heading to Harborview. Police arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight.
KIRO says the alleged victim, whose name they are withholding, agreed to an interview and told reporter Amy Clancy that she initially contacted the UW athlete on Facebook and exchanged text messages with him before agreeing to meet in person. The girl reportedly claimed that, when at the apartment, "the athlete asked her how she would feel if she went home no longer a virgin."
KIRO is also not naming the player. His name is redacted from the police report, along with his height and date of birth. Other than the name, police did not redact the same information for the alleged victim. The report does, however, specify that the suspect is a student at UW.
The suspect has not been arrested or charged with a crime, but the police report lists the offense as, "indecent liberties - completed," which just sounds, well, awful.
Here's the pdf of the police report, via KIRO: