On Oct. 4th, the same day his new Knicks teammates hit the court to face the Houston Rockets, Derrick Rose will find himself in another court, facing a $21.5 million lawsuit filed by an anonymous ex-lover who claims he and two friends gang raped her in 2013.
Since the case takes place in civil court, Jane Doe, as she has requested to be referred to, will only need to prove “by the preponderance of the evidence” that her story is true. Conceptually, this means that the jury believes that at least 51 percent of the evidence is in her favor. This is a markedly lower standard than that which is applied to criminal cases, meaning that she could be successful while a criminal case may not even get past an investigation stage. The outcome of the case will weigh heavily on what evidence is allowed to be introduced. Barring any settlement, expect to see a whole lot of dirty laundry in the coming weeks.
It started in 2015 when Doe filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles alleging that on Aug. 26, 2013, after a night of heavy drinking, Rose and friends Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton engaged in non-consensual sex with her while she was incapacitated. The facts state that on that night Rose invited Doe and a friend to Rose’s rental house in Beverly Hills. She alleges that while she was there, Rose slipped her a date rape drug for the purpose of incapacitating her. Although there is no toxicology or physical evidence supporting this claim, Rose’s own expert witness did note that Doe’s symptoms are consistent with “advanced alcohol intoxication.” Doe left Rose’s house with her friend later that night after an argument between her friend and Hampton, and began texting Rose when she returned home. Her texts seemed to express some frustration at the events surrounding her departure, and asked him to come pick her up. He initially responded that he would send his “guy” to pick her up. After she continued to beckon him, at 2:09 a.m., she texted “aight he turned around to pick u up.” This would be the last text she sent that night, and she argues that she was asleep when Rose, Hampton, and Allen arrived. Her cell records show a series of unanswered calls and texts from Allen spanning over an hour, and one text from Rose: “Hello?”
This all seems a bit fishy when you consider that when asked in his deposition if he had an understanding of the word “consent,” Rose replied “No, but can you tell me?”
There is a dispute between Rose and Doe about what transpired next, including who let them into the apartment and what happened. In the morning, Doe states she awoke with her dress hiked up over her neck and lubricant all over her body, and that she remembered only “flashes” of what occurred the night before. Her roommate testified that a few days later Doe told her roommate that the three men had raped her and showed her a bloody blanket.
The incident followed a two year long non-exclusive relationship between Doe and Rose, in which she claims she often found herself uncomfortable and refused his requests for, what she considered to be, non-traditional sexual acts. She claims that she repeatedly denied his requests for group sex, and that her conservative upbringing made her less sexually adventurous than Rose. Her complaint and her recent media campaign emphasized these character traits; that she is “shy” and “prudish,” and since she wouldn’t have consented to group sex in the past, she couldn’t have possibly consented with Rose and his friends.
The evidence Rose submitted tells a different story: he claims that she invited him and his two friends over, welcomed them into the apartment, and proceeded to have sex with all three of them. Her roommate in the room next door did not hear noises or screams that night. He acknowledges that in the past she did not consent to group sex, but this night, he claims, she had consensual interactions with Rose and Hampton both at his house as well as later on at hers. This all seems a bit fishy when you consider that when asked in his deposition if he had an understanding of the word “consent,” Rose replied “No, but can you tell me?” Nonetheless, the evidence, including the text messages exchanged between the two, could allow for either version of the events.
Since the filing of her complaint, Doe’s sexual promiscuity has been thrown into the spotlight. Because she initially relied on specific allegations regarding her history and background in support of the case, it is within Rose’s right to rebut those allegations in order to undermine her credibility. This is a legal concept called “impeachment,” which allows a defendant to use these inconsistencies in his defense, essentially to suggest that if she is not telling the truth about one topic, perhaps the jury should consider her other statements untrustworthy. To this end, Rose’s team has tried to introduce evidence that she was sexually aggressive and unconstrained, even having sex with multiple NBA players casually. Certainly, she and her legal team will fight to keep this evidence out of court and off the public record. More critically though, introduction of this kind of information in a high-profile rape case often leads to a situation in which the victim is “slut-shamed” and a smear campaign is used to intimidate her to back down. In order to prevent this conversation from driving the course of the case, she has decided (and the court initially granted her request) to proceed under the pseudonym.
This, in particular, has become a fundamental issue in the case. Anonymity is offered to victims of sexual crimes if the court considers that disclosing their identity could cause a risk of physical or mental harm. Doe claimed that if her parents, or the public were to find out who she is, she could experience embarrassment, humiliation, and harassment. Rose’s initial arguments against the pseudonym were jarring; essentially arguing that her posting of sexual pictures on Instagram undermines her request for anonymity in this case. More recently, however, Rose has argued that anonymity has precluded him from introducing certain key pieces of evidence pertaining to his perception of consent, and that his inability to defend himself in the eyes of the public will be detrimental to his reputation and career.
Her recent media blitz has also been a point of contention; last week she gave several interviews and held a press conference via conference call. In it, she discussed her morals and reinforced her side of the story; that she would never agree to what conspired on Aug. 26, and that she has endured serious and considerable mental anguish since then. From Doe’s perspective, the interviews were an attempt to defend herself against the media conversation which thus far has been controlled by Rose. Rose’s team argues that her blitz is nothing but a veiled attempt to sway public opinion, thereby inducing him to settle. In their motion against her anonymity, they further argued that because she was “openly pandering to the media on a nationwide blitz tour, Ms. Doe should be precluded from using a pseudonym for any purpose, including media coverage.”
On Tuesday, a judge ruled in Rose’s favor, decreeing that her name will be revealed in open court when the trial begins. The judge agreed that Rose would be unfairly prejudiced if the trial were to proceed without revealing her identity. Although this is a decisive change in the course of the proceedings, both Doe and Rose seem undeterred from continuing, and claim to be ready to go to trial. Several other key evidentiary issues are yet to be ironed out, including whether or not Rose will be able to introduce evidence of Doe’s past sexual behavior and images of her partying in Vegas two weeks after the alleged assault, or if Doe will be able to present evidence of Rose’s SAT cheating scandal during his University of Memphis days.
To read more, and to see key documents in the case head over to The White Bronco.