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University of Washington Huskies Football

Police suggest UW athletics staff knew about, discussed Tybo Rogers’ rape allegation

Tylin “Tybo” Rogers, right, walks with his attorney Robert Flennaugh II to an arraignment where Rogers pleaded not guilty to two rape charges, on Thursday in Seattle.  (Ken Lambert/Seattle Times)
By Catalina Gaitan Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Seattle police suggested that members of University of Washington’s athletic department staff knew about and discussed a rape allegation against Tylin “Tybo” Rogers before allowing the sophomore running back to continue playing last fall, according to a document detailing the agency’s investigation into Rogers.

The document, released Monday through a public-disclosure request, points to emails sent within UW’s athletic department Nov. 30, two days after one of Rogers’ alleged victims posted on social media about the attack and filed a Title IX report against him at the university.

The emails confirmed Rogers was removed from the travel roster for the Pac-12 Championship Game on Dec. 1 but did not explain why, according to the document. Rogers, who has been suspended from the team, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second- and third-degree rape, and his attorney has said he is innocent.

Two women, a 19-year-old Seattle Central College student and a 22-year-old UW student, have accused Rogers of raping them in October and November last year.

The 19-year-old contacted Seattle police Oct. 28 after Rogers allegedly raped her inside her apartment. She reported him to the university’s Title IX office and posted on social media about the alleged attack one month later.

Investigators also pointed to text messages involving UW athletics staff referencing Rogers that were sent within two weeks of the woman’s Nov. 28 social-media post and Title IX report. The messages were followed up with a phone call, so the responses weren’t documented.

One screenshot shows a text message sent Dec. 6 to an unidentified UW football coach asking the coach to share contact information for a defense attorney with Rogers. The message was from Leon Neal, the name of a former UW running back.

Neal couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

At the time, Ryan Grubb, then UW’s football offensive coordinator, told Inside the Huskies, a Sports Illustrated FanNation website, that they were working on “some challenges (Rogers) had off the field” but declined to say more about why Rogers was taken off the field.

Less than three weeks after the woman reported Rogers to the university’s Title IX office, which investigates complaints of sexual misconduct by university students and staff, he returned to practice Dec. 15. He played in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 and the College Football Playoff Championship Game on Jan. 8.

“The timeline of social media posts as well as Roger’s suspension led me to believe there is a connection between his suspension and her disclosure of the assault, especially after the comments made by the coaching staff,” Seattle police Detective Emily Akiyama wrote in the report.

It’s unclear how much the university’s athletic department knew about the allegation against Rogers last fall, and three men best positioned to answer questions have since resigned for other jobs.

Grubb and former UW coach Kalen DeBoer left Jan. 12 to work for Alabama. Grubb has since returned to Seattle to work as the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator. And Troy Dannen, then UW’s athletic director, abruptly left March 20 after less than six months on the job to take the same position at the University of Nebraska.

All three have either declined to comment on the case or have not responded to inquiries from reporters.

UW’s new coach, Jedd Fisch, said he suspended Rogers indefinitely as soon as he learned of the allegations against him, but declined to say more.

“I wasn’t here for that,” Fisch said. “That has nothing to do with me.”

In a statement issued after the criminal charges, UW’s Genevieve Haas said the university “cooperated and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in this matter.”

“As a result of this arrest, new information has been made available to the UW, and this information will be fully investigated,” Haas said.

Rogers and members of his family have not responded to inquiries from reporters. His attorney, Robert Flennaugh II, said Rogers will “fight every inch of these false claims.”

Seattle police arrested Rogers near Husky Stadium on April 5. He was charged in King County Superior Court with the two rape counts and was released after posting a bond for 10% of his $300,000 bail, records show.

After Rogers’ arraignment, Flennaugh told reporters outside the courtroom “there are a lot of issues, and we’re going to address them in court.”

The trial is set for July 8.