Former Friar Brandon Austin, shown playing in a high school game in Pennsylvania in March 2013
BY MICHELLE R. SMITH, ASSOCIATED PRESS
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An investigation into an alleged sexual assault by two Providence College basketball players has concluded with no charges, the Rhode Island attorney general’s office said Wednesday.
The office said it presented the investigation to a statewide grand jury, which determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Rodney Bullock. The office said it then determined there was insufficient evidence to ask the grand jury to consider charges against Brandon Austin.
The freshmen were accused of sexually assaulting another student on Nov. 3. Three days later, Coach Ed Cooley suspended them from playing in games shortly before the season began for “not upholding their responsibilities as student-athletes.” After a review, the school decided to keep them out for the rest of the season.
The woman complained to the Providence Police Department about the alleged assault in March. Authorities have not released her name.
Austin later left Providence College and enrolled at Oregon, where he was also accused of rape. Authorities there declined to prosecute, saying there wasn’t enough evidence. In June, he was suspended as a student from the school for a minimum of four years, and up to 10 years.
Austin’s lawyer, Laura Fine Moro, called it an exoneration and said her client would start at a community college in Kansas, where he will play basketball.
“The presumption of innocence gets thrown aside in these kinds of cases,” she said. “He’s a brilliant, gifted athlete, and it’s nice to get this behind him so he can concentrate on going to school and playing ball.”
Bullock’s lawyer, Bill Lynch, said the incident has now been investigated exhaustively by the college, police and a grand jury, “all of whom have agreed.”
“We’re glad that this in now over once and for all, and he can put it behind him and just concentrate on being a student and an athlete at Providence College,” Lynch said. “He looks forward to continuing to be a good member of the PC community, both the school and the basketball team. He never, ever wavered from that.”
College spokesman Steven Maurano said the school would not comment.