UPDATED: Suit claims Utah State didn't act on rape allegations; Wells issues statement
Three victims have filed lawsuits against Utah State University claiming it did not respond appropriately to allegations of sexual assault against former standout football player Torrey Green, who is now in prison for multiple sexual assaults. Green played for current Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells.
Green was on the Utah State team from 2011 to 2015. Wells joined the Utah State staff in December 2010; he was promoted to head coach in December 2012. Wells led the Aggies until Tech hired him in November 2018.
Green, described by the judge at his trial as a serial rapist, was convicted in January 2019 and sentenced two months later on five counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual battery against women who also attended Utah State. He was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.
In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week, a victim claims she would never have been raped if Utah State had taken the appropriate action.
According to an article by The Daily Beast, in January 2016 Wells met with Green to discuss the allegations. Following the meeting, the lawsuit claims, neither Wells nor anyone else from Utah State conducted the "necessary factual investigations into the multiple allegations of sexual assault and rape made against Green."
The lawsuit states Green was permitted to remain a student at Utah State and play in all games his senior season. However, the timeline provided in the suit and referenced in the article isn't accurate: Green's senior season was 2015; the meeting with Wells referenced, according to the suit, occurred on January 16, 2016, after his college football career was complete. Green was allowed to graduate in May 2016. He signed with the Atlanta Falcons but was waved before the 2016 season started, a day after the team learned of the sexual assault allegations.
There is no published report or document publicly released that identifies Wells meeting with Green about the allegations or discussing the alleged crimes before January 16, 2016.
Texas Tech released a statement from Wells Friday afternoon:
“While at Utah State, I was asked to attend a meeting with the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Torrey Green in January 2016 regarding an allegation," Wells said. "It is important to note that Torrey had already finished his senior season in 2015. I am well aware that I have a responsibility to report any possible Title IX issues. It is the Title IX Office’s responsibility to investigate an allegation, so it would have been completely wrong for me to have done so. While I followed all Utah State procedures, I am deeply saddened for the hurt suffered by these women.”
The Daily Beast reports one victim reported she was raped by Green in October 2014, alerting a professor and the school's Title IX Office. Another victim made a report in January 2015 to local police and a dorm supervisor, who relayed it to the Title IX office. Another victim said she was raped in a report to two university agencies in October 2015. In November 2015, Green sexually assaulted another victim and athlete; this victim reported it to the Title IX Office. The Daily Beast cites the lawsuit for this timeline.
Utah State issued a statement to KSL.com Tuesday for its report on this latest lawsuit: “Torrey Green had many victims both at USU and in the community, and the university would like to assist USU students who were victims to reach closure,” university spokesman Tim Vitale said in a statement issued to KSL.com. “USU has publicly acknowledged it fell short in several ways in addressing sexual assaults on campus in the Torrey Green case, and we are continuing to address those universitywide systemic problems.”
“This lawsuit, however, as filed, relies on countless incorrect assumptions, misrepresents how universities are able to address sexual assaults, and contains a number of outright factual errors and multiple timeline errors,” Vitale wrote.
An earlier lawsuit filed by two victims, reported by the Utah Statesman Oct. 9, claims Utah State violated Title IX. And it claims the university did not warn students of the "known danger of sexual assault posed by Green". According to The Statesman, the suit was filed against the Utah State Board of Regents, Utah State Board of Trustees, the university's director of student conduct and community standards, and the university's coordinator of sexual assault and anti-violence information office.
In July 2016 the Salt Lake Tribune reported four women in 2015 brought allegations forward against Green. At the time of this 2016 article, the Tribune reports no legal or academic action had been taken against Green. Records including police reports the Tribune obtained showed Green was not interviewed by authorities in 2015. No charges were filed. A Tribune story in 2018 detailed separate allegations of a pattern of sexism and emotional abuse in Utah State's piano department spanning several years. In 2017 the paper reported the Justice Department was investigating how the university handled reports of sexual assault.
A Utah State internal investigation launched in 2016 found multiple university employees failed to properly report sexual assault allegations brought to them. This was reported by The Tribune in August 2018.
KSL.com reports Green testified at his trial earlier this year four sexual encounters were consensual and two never happened. The jury didn't buy it. He was convicted of assaulting all six women at different times from 2013 to 2015.