Attorney for UD's Pierre says suspension unfair

Pierre sitting out semester after rape allegation

An attorney for University of Dayton basketball player Dyshawn Pierre calls UD’s decision to suspend him for a semester following a sexual assault accusation that didn’t lead to criminal charges unfair, and says he will fight it.

“Ignoring that decision made by qualified professionals, the University of Dayton subjected Dyshawn to fundamentally defective and unfair university disciplinary procedures orchestrated to appease a broken Department of Education policy,” said a statement from New York attorney Peter Ginsberg.

“We will be challenging the university’s handling of this matter in the near future.”

Ginsberg’s statement released Wednesday evening followed exclusive reporting by this newspaper that Pierre is not enrolled this semester at UD after another student accused him of a sexual assault that he denies happened, and county prosecutors say lacks sufficient evidence to merit charges.

In response to a request under Ohio public records laws for records related to criminal allegations against Pierre, UD police provided 15 pages detailing an investigation into allegations that a sexual assault occurred on campus in the early-morning hours on April 23.

The incident was reported in May and the investigation was concluded in June. It then was turned over to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutor’s office spokesman Greg Flannagan said his office declined to press charges “due to insufficient evidence.”

The location of the incident is listed as a Caldwell Street residence hall. The heavily redacted report does not identify the suspect or three witnesses, but lists them as students.

Investigative records say the suspect and complainant were drinking at Timothy’s on Brown Street before going back to his campus residence.

There, the female claims, he pressured and sexually assaulted her while “she pushed at the suspect and told him to stop.”

Per the report, written by the investigating officer: “The complainant told me that, after a moment of silence, she told the suspect, ‘What just happened wasn’t okay.’ She said the suspect replied, ‘What. Are you calling this rape?’ The complainant told me that at that point she had not quite comprehended the gravity of what had taken place, so she told the suspect no.”

Specific details of what she alleges happened were redacted from the report.

His version of events differs: “At no time, did she by words or actions ever indicate that she was an unwilling participant,” he wrote in a statement.

“I never held her down so it was impossible for her to get away, or held her down in any way. I never told her to or demanded that she do anything,” he wrote in a statement. “Everything we did was totally consensual.”

The woman didn’t contact police directly, but told her friends who contacted the school’s Title IX coordinator.

“She said she did not, at this time, wish to file criminal charges against the suspect,” the report says. “Neither did she wish to see him go unsanctioned completely.”

UD officials won’t comment on why Pierre isn’t on the basketball team, beyond a statement released Sunday after ESPN reported that he was suspended.

“Dyshawn Pierre is not enrolled at the University for the fall semester,” said the statement from Bill Fischer, vice president for student development at UD. “Therefore, he will not play on the basketball team during this time. The University cannot discuss individual student matters because of federal privacy laws.”

As a result of missing the first semester, Pierre — the Flyers’ leading returning scorer and rebounder — may not return to school until December, meaning he would miss the first 10 games of the season.

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