Criminal probe involved UD player

Suspended University of Dayton basketball player Matt Kavanaugh was the suspect in a sexual assault investigation earlier this fall that did not yield criminal charges, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr. did not state that the criminal investigation led to Kavanaugh’s suspension and UD officials have only said that the suspension was for violating the university’s standards of behavior and code of conduct.

“Obviously student disciplinary action is separate and distinct from any potential criminal charges,” Heck said in a statement released Friday following an inquiry by the Dayton Daily News. “Improper behavior by students is not always criminal in nature, and in this instance the evidence did not support a criminal charge.”

Few details about the sexual assault investigation have been made public.

Kavanaugh, 21, was listed as a suspect in two UD police reports from late August that were obtained by the newspaper from the prosecutor’s office in response to a public record’s request. The reports list the victim as a 17-year-old girl who is a student at UD.

The father of the female student named as the victim in two incident reports said on Friday his daughter testified in a university disciplinary hearing. The girl’s father said alcohol was involved. The Dayton Daily News does not identify victims of sexual assault.

“I’m glad to see the University of Dayton chose to foster a learning environment over the temptations of athletic prowess,” the father said.

The father said he was disappointed there were no criminal charges filed against Kavanaugh, and that he was not allowed access to the university’s disciplinary process. “We are relieved by the decision of the university to suspend Kavanaugh,” he said.

“I’m concerned for my daughter in that the big man on campus got kicked out of school and my little girl didn’t even know who he was. And I’m concerned about any repercussions against her from crazy basketball fans,” the girl’s father added.

Heck praised UD and its police force, adding “too many other universities and institutions seem to hide accusations of misconduct by faculty or students. The University and the University Police Department were most cooperative and transparent with my office while we were reviewing this matter.”

The university had no comment on Heck’s statement, said Teri Rizvi, associate vice president for university communications.

Matt Kavanaugh’s father, John Kavanaugh, said he had no further comment when reached on Friday about the UD police reports.

“As the university spokesperson said in the paper (Friday), we consider this matter closed and we consider it a private family matter and have no further comment,” Kavanaugh’s father said.

The prosecutor’s review was completed in late September, when spokesman Greg Flannagan said that a panel reviewed the evidence and decided there was “insufficient evidence of a felony.”

The decision ended the prosecutor’s involvement in the case, Flannagan said.

A UD police report released Friday by the prosecutor’s office states at 2:13 a.m., Aug. 20, UD police were “dispatched to the area of the Caldwell Street Apartments on the report of a possible sexual assault in progress.” The police responded to Kavanaugh’s address, according to the incident report.

A second report states that while police were “investigating another crime, a female student reported that she was sexually assaulted while in the basement” of a off-campus home on Kiefaber Street. That report states that the incident happened on Aug. 18.

UD Athletic Director Tim Wabler has said that UD has 1,200 student-athletes and school suspensions are extremely rare.

After a disciplinary hearing and an appeal process, Kavanaugh was stripped of his scholarship and is not allowed to attend classes or campus functions at least until May 2013, according to Wabler. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound senior from Centerville was a starter for the Flyers last season, averaging nine points and almost six rebounds. Kavanaugh had been named one of the team’s three captains for the upcoming season, head coach Archie Miller said.

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