- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Knox County district attorney’s office says it opposes notifying any people of “sensitive information” before arrests are made in an investigation. Phone records show Knoxville police called Tennessee football coach Butch Jones during a rape investigation involving former players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams.

Assistant District Attorney General Sean McDermott didn’t comment specifically on this case but said Wednesday that District Attorney General Charme Allen opposes pre-arrest notification “to any person or agency that is not made in furtherance of the investigation.”

“A pre-arrest disclosure of sensitive information that is not made for the purpose of advancing the criminal investigation potentially could violate state law regarding the misuse of official information,” McDermott said in a statement.

McDermott didn’t clarify under what circumstances this might constitute a violation of state law. The Tennessean first reported McDermott’s comment.

Phone records released last month show Jones received calls from David Rausch and Sam Brown of the Knoxville Police Department the morning of Nov. 16, 2014, hours after a woman said she was raped.

Rausch, the police chief, said in a statement last month that police notify the coaching staff “as a courtesy” when a Tennessee player is under investigation and that no information is shared that would hinder the case.

According to Jones’ phone records, he received a two-minute call from Brown at 8:20 a.m. and spoke to Johnson a few minutes later. Jones received a call from Rausch at 8:38 a.m. Jones and Rausch, the police chief, exchanged four calls totaling 21 minutes on Nov. 16, 2014, and five more calls totaling 13 minutes the next day. Jones and Brown exchanged four calls totaling 17 minutes Nov. 16, 2014, and four calls totaling 16 minutes the next day.

Johnson and Williams were suspended from the team Nov. 17, 2014, and were identified as suspects the following day. They were indicted February 2015 and have separate trial dates this summer.

When Jones’ phone records from the days following the incident were released, he issued a statement saying that “anytime we have a disciplinary issue with a player, we have as many conversations as needed with players, parents, law enforcement, whomever until we can be sure that we are making the best decision possible.”

Tennessee athletic department spokesman Ryan Robinson said Wednesday the school had no additional comment.

Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said Brown’s police responsibilities include acting as a liaison between the department and the Tennessee football team. DeBusk said someone in the department has acted as a police liaison to the football team since 1978.


Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide