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Tennessee Sexual Assault Lawsuit: New Allegations & Strong Denial from Butch Jones

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of activity on the lawsuit front Wednesday night, and nothing to take Tennessee out of a growing spotlight.  The bullet points from a day of new allegations and firm responses:

  • Two more women became Jane Does VII and VIII in the federal sexual assault lawsuit against the University of Tennessee, and Von Pearson and Alexis Johnson were named in the amended filing.  The story again comes first from The Tennessean.
  • A new amendment to the filing also adds new allegations in Drae Bowles' portion of the story, on which much of how this whole conversation is viewed will now hang.  In a sworn affidavit, Bowles says he was punched by Curt Maggitt after assisting the woman who was allegedly raped by A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, who face trial later this year.  This is in direct opposition to what he told Knoxville News-Sentinel reporter Dustin Dopirak last year when he denied the assault took place, as mentioned in his story two weeks ago:

  • The newer and more explosive detail:  Bowles alleges Butch Jones called him a "traitor to the team" in response to the altercation with Maggitt after assisting the alleged victim.  He added that Jones called him back to apologize.
  • The university's response to these new allegations does not sound like settling is on their agenda at the moment, through attorney Bill Ramsey:
  • Butch Jones didn't keep silent either, and didn't ride any fences:

So more than offering no comment, Jones was quick to defend himself and join the university's language in being committed to the judicial process.  Nothing about this suggests Tennessee will do something other than fight the suit, and nothing about that seems like it will end soon.  Bowles clearly seems to have changed his story between what he told KNS and what's in this affidavit, and those changes would be damning if true.  Butch Jones clearly believes they aren't.

And Dave Hart will step to the podium in a previously scheduled media opportunity at 1:00 PM ET Thursday, two days after all 16 coaches held a press conference to defend the culture they see on campus.  This story isn't going anywhere, and while we continue to hope all of it can serve to improve whatever the existing culture may be, today it got uglier and the stakes got much higher for Butch Jones.