- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2011

A former Wake Forest student said the school brushed off her allegations of a sexual assault by a basketball player to protect its athletic program.

Speaking Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show, Margaret Hurt said Wake Forest didn’t adequately pursue her allegations two years ago “on purpose because that was a way that they got their money.” The interview aired as part of the program’s package on how colleges respond to allegations of sexual assaults on campuses.

According to a report filed with Miami police in 2009, she accused guard Gary Clark of sexually assaulting her in a hotel bathroom after an NCAA tournament game while teammate Jeff Teague waited outside.

Hurt’s name is redacted from the documents, which state that police investigated but declined to bring charges because of a lack of both physical evidence and witnesses. The school’s judicial board also conducted an investigation and cleared the players of wrongdoing.

Michael Grace, a Winston-Salem attorney who represents both Clark and Teague, said in a statement that the players are “stunned and outraged by the allegations.”

“That NBC would provide Ms. Hurt with a forum to air her story to millions _ a story which is dramatically different from any story she has told in the past _ without giving both Gary and Jeff an opportunity to respond, is tragic and will adversely affect them for years to come,” Grace said.

Grace said neither he nor either player will make any further statements “until a proper forum can be identified to ensure a proper and full airing of all the facts.”

He said Clark and Teague “are strongly evaluating potential legal action against both Ms. Hurt and NBC.”

A spokeswoman for “Today” said the network would have no comment.

Teague now plays for the Atlanta Hawks, and officials with the NBA team didn’t immediately return a phone message.

Clark, a senior member of the Demon Deacons’ basketball team this year, graduated last weekend with a degree in mathematics.

Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, in an open letter to the school’s community, said he is “troubled by the prevalence of sexual misconduct in our society today” but that “I feel strongly that the University’s response, as well as our character, has been misrepresented.”

School officials have said federal privacy laws prohibit them from commenting on specific details.

John Clune, Hurt’s Colorado-based attorney, said Hurt and her family will decide “in the near future” whether to file a lawsuit and that their focus is on how the school responded to her claim.

“The university is an entity the parents feel they can trust their children to when they turn them over at the age of 18,” Clune said. “When they feel like the school turns their back on them, that’s almost as retraumatizing as the actual assault itself. … Going forward, that’s where their frustration lies.

Story Continues →