Yet another potentially damning document regarding Peyton Manning’s 1996 actions in a University of Tennessee training room came to light on Monday, as ESPN obtained a copy of accuser Jamie Naughright’s sexual assault crisis center phone call transcript from the evening in question. On the call, which took place just three hours after the “incident,” she reports having been sexually assaulted by a “very well-known public figure,” admitting that, by giving away “details,” she “worried + feared for her life.”
The date was Feb. 29, 1996, but what the “incident” itself entailed was less clear. Ask Manning, and he simply mooned a teammate that night -- an action which, from the quarterback’s perspective, trainer Naughright simply happened to witness. But ask Naughright, and you hear a much graver claim: that Manning “forcefully maneuvered his” genitals “directly” onto Naughright’s face, when she was kneeling on the floor to examine his injured foot.
For the sake of comprehensiveness, here are the words that Naughright said to the crisis center that night regarding the "sexual assault/abuse" that allegedly occurred three hours prior:
- “I can’t believe this”
- “I told my boss tonite”
- “sense there will be a cover up”
- “head coach letting them get away w/ everything”
- “was witnessed by another team member”
- Lady Vol raped 1 yr ago; recent rape -- “covered up”
- Rollo told her tonite, repeatedly -- “I don’t think this is best handled by press or police”
- Caller did not want to describe details of [incident] over the phone -- feared for her job, worried + feared for her life.
The murky series of events occurred just under two decades ago, but were shoved into the limelight earlier this month, when New York Daily News reporter Shaun King received and published 74 pages of documents detailing, as he wrote, the “allegations of a sexual assault scandal, cover up, and smear campaign of the victim.”
While, according to King, the Tennessee athletic department and the Mannings themselves did what was in their power to negate Naughright’s allegations, attempting to quiet her with what appear to be trumped up accusations of their own, the document ESPN received and published Monday seems to further suggest that there is indeed truth to Naughright’s claims.
Each of us can and should form our own conclusions based on the evidence, but Naughright's reluctance to share details (not to mention her acute fear for her own safety) does not sound like a sentiment that would come from one exaggerating or falsifying serious allegations.
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