On Wednesday, as part of a lawsuit brought by six women against the University of Tennessee, a new legal filing asserted football coach Butch Jones told a player he had “betrayed the team” for helping a woman claiming she had been raped by two of the player’s teammates.
The filing asserts Jones called sophomore Drae Bowles twice, the first time to accuse him of being a traitor, prompting Bowles to break down and cry, and the second time to apologize. Bowles swears his former coach told him he “betrayed the team” after he helped a woman accusing two of its players of sexual assault.
Jones responded to the filing on Wednesday, terming the charges “false attacks on my character.” He added:
The assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false. To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question. During the course of the judicial process, campus officials, as well as the young man’s own words, will clearly establish that I have done nothing wrong. I will fight all of these false attacks on my character, and I know that once this process has been completed, my reputation will be affirmed.
The lawsuit alleges that the alleged victim of the rape, a friend of Bowles’, was raped by UT football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams. In the early hours of November 16, 2014, Bowles discovered her crying and hyperventilating in a parking lot; Bowles and the woman called 911. Later that day, Bowles’ teammate, Curt Maggitt, asked Bowles “accusing questions … Bowles told Maggitt what had happened. Maggitt became violently upset, said that Bowles was trying to f*** up A.J. and suddenly punched Bowles in the mouth with great force, causing Bowles’ lip to bleed,” according to the filing. The filing concludes that teammates broke up the fight.
The filing continues that the next day Bowles sat alone at Smokey’s Sports Grill, the campus dining hall for athletes, where teammates Geraldo Orta and Marlin Lane were prevented from fighting with Bowles by football strength coach Brandon Myles, who physically intervened and held back Orta and Lane. The lawsuit adds that Maggitt admitted to police that he assaulted Bowles and that Jones “instructed the team to stay away from Bowles.” Maggitt was never charged.
Orta later asserted to police that “people got shot” for such betrayals where he was raised, according to the lawsuit. Williams told police Orta put a “hit” out on Bowles for helping the alleged victim.
Jones has denied teammates ever assaulted Bowles. Bowles, whose father Dexter serves as a captain in the Madison County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Office, later transferred to UT Chattanooga.
The lawsuit concludes: “Drae Bowles had acted with the utmost kindness and strength of character toward Jane Doe IV, her friends and Jane Doe V. For his kindness and courage he was beaten up, called a traitor by his head football coach and ostracized from the team by Coach Jones and other players. Maggitt continued to be touted as a team leader and with Orta and Lane celebrated a bowl victory by posing for cameras flashing (alleged) rapist A.J. Johnson’s number 45 with their hands and fingers.”