Phone records obtained today by the Tennessean show the flurry of calls made and received by Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones on the day in 2014 when a woman said she was raped by two members of his football team.
One thing the records do, per the Tennesseean, is line up with the timeline given by former player Drae Bowles, who said Jones called him a traitor and later said he was beaten up by fellow players for helping the woman. But they also show multiple calls between Jones and law enforcement, including the police chief, hours before police searched the apartment where the woman said she was raped, the Tennesseean reports.
Here’s the timeline of calls with police, from the Tennesseean. Emphasis added is mine.
Sam Brown, who serves as the Knoxville Police Department’s liaison to the Tennessee football program, contacted Jones at 8:20 a.m. on the day of the rape report. Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch contacted the coach 18 minutes later. Jones and the chief spoke four times throughout the day, with Jones initiating all but the first call.
The calls from Knoxville law enforcement officials to Jones came hours before police searched the apartment where the incident allegedly took place.
As for the calls with Bowles, they line up with what he said in his affidavit submitted as part of a massive Title IX lawsuit filed against the university, which accuses Tennessee of having “deliberate indifference” to assaults by athletes. In the affidavit, Bowles said he called Jones to tell him what happened after he got attacked. The phone records show “an incoming call from Bowles at 3:45 p.m. that lasted seven minutes,” the Tennessean reported. Per his affidavit, this is when Jones told Bowles “he was very disappointed in Bowles and that he had ‘betrayed the team.’”
The records also show a second call, from Jones to Bowles, at 9:46 p.m. in a conversation lasting nine minutes, the Tennesseean reported. In the affidavit, Bowles said, “Several hours after this phone call Jones called Bowles and apologized for calling Bowles a traitor to the team.”
There’s no way to know from the phone records the content of these calls, only the times and approximate length. Jones already has released a statement saying that his conversation with Bowles was “to support Drae and make sure he was OK.”
As to the calls with law enforcement, Jones said: “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.”
The two players being investigated, A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, were charged with aggravated rape. Both have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.