Tennessee Coach Called Sexual Assault Whistleblower A Traitor, Lawsuit Claims

The player says his coach shamed him for assisting a woman reportedly raped by his teammates.

The University of Tennessee football coach told an athlete he was a traitor to the team for assisting a woman who said she was raped by two of his teammates and for encouraging her to report her rape, according to a new legal filing in a sexual assault lawsuit against the school.

Wednesday's filing alleges that in November 2014, after team member Curt Maggitt beat up teammate Drae Bowles as vengeance for helping the woman, Coach Butch Jones told Bowles that he "betrayed the team," but later called him to apologize, according to documents obtained by The Tennessean.

That filing is part of a lawsuit filed by six female victims against the school earlier this month alleging that UT officials turned a blind eye to the school's male students and athletes raping women and assaulting those who supported the women, and then helped the accused students get good lawyers. There are now a total of eight women named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, after two more came forward Wednesday. 

Coach Jones had already been named as a defendant in the lawsuit for condoning the school's rape culture and promising to "handle things inside" when athletes were arrested for underage drinking, providing alcohol to minors, driving under the influence and felony theft. 

Bowles' claims about Jones' comments come one day after the football coach and 15 other UT coaches held a press conference to say there is no problem with the campus's athletic culture.

"We are raising these kids and they're kids," Jones said at the press conference. "Have we had some individuals make some poor choices? Absolutely. ... It's our job to hold them responsible."

UT's lawyer, Bill Ramsey, said the new filing would not change the school's response to the lawsuit.

"The University has reviewed the amended complaint filed today by the plaintiffs and we continue to stand by our actions," he said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. "The facts, as opposed to allegations in a complaint, will demonstrate that the University acted properly in the matters at issue. We have continuously worked hard to improve our processes and our procedures to ensure that we are doing all that we can to prevent incidents of assault, to support victims of assault and to pursue justice while ensuring due process for those accused. We will vigorously defend all claims in the amended complaint."



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