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MU refutes Phillips' claim, says the ex-player violated sexual misconduct policy

MU refutes Phillips' claim, says the ex-player violated sexual misconduct policy

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COLUMBIA, MO. • Former Missouri basketball player Terrence Phillips announced his vindication from the school’s Title IX investigation last week, saying he was cleared of the most serious allegations made against him, including sexual misconduct.

That wasn’t true.

A woman who filed a Title IX complaint against Phillips last year received an email from the university in June saying the school found Phillips responsible for violating Section 3 of its policy on Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct in Education. Section 3 covers sexual misconduct. Under the policy, sexual misconduct is defined four ways, including “Exposing one’s genitals to another under circumstances in which one should reasonably know that the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm.”

The woman, who talked to the Post-Dispatch and shared documents on the condition of anonymity, said Phillips harassed her with multiple “unwanted naked pictures of himself” sent as text messages last summer.

She filed a complaint with the school’s Title IX office on Sept. 15. The office contacted her Dec. 18 saying it was moving forward with an investigation into Phillips after receiving complaints from other women. In January, she submitted to the Title IX office photos and text exchanges with Phillips.

In a June 7 email the Title IX office told the woman Phillips was found responsible for violating Section 3 of the school’s policy on sex discrimination, harassment and misconduct but did not violate Section 4, which covers stalking. Phillips had until June 11 to appeal the panel’s finding but did not appeal, a Title IX investigator later told the woman.

In a three-page Twitter post Thursday, Phillips said he was found not responsible of allegations of “sexual misconduct, rape, exploitation, and stalking.” He said he “won unanimously” three of the four complaints filed against him. He was found responsible for intimate partner violence for pushing his ex-girlfriend during an argument.

In his account of the Title IX case, Phillips wrote about four women who filed complaints against him, listing them as Complainants A, C, D and E. He doesn’t mention a B. The woman who spoke with the Post-Dispatch figures she was Complainant B and Phillips intentionally left her allegations out of his account. She said the other accounts Phillips wrote about didn’t describe any of the interactions that led to her complaint.

“I don’t know anything about the other girls’ cases,” she said, “just what everyone else has seen on Twitter.”

Within a week of first meeting the woman last spring Phillips started repeatedly contacting her and showing up at her place of employment in Columbia, she said. Other times he would send her text message photos of her car outside her work to indicate he knew where she was.

“He started showing up to my work every single day and just sitting there and staring at me the entire time,” she said. “There were multiple times I said, ‘You need to leave me alone.’ I told his teammates he was creeping me out.”

“I literally couldn’t turn around and not have him there,” she said. “He would stand outside and wait at my car for me to get off work. It was absolutely insane.”

When Phillips sent her naked photos she texted back that she was not interested in seeing them. She has not had contact with Phillips since filing her Title IX complaint last fall.

After Phillips posted his statement last Thursday, the woman was troubled by responses from fans who blamed the alleged victims for making false accusations.

“I know it’s easy to say don’t look at the comments, but when people are saying these women should be persecuted for this … we weren’t falsely accusing him of anything,” she said. “He’s a very aggressive man who had these encounters in person and got away with most of it.”

The woman said Phillips never showed signs of violence toward her.

“He was just really, really obsessive,” she said. “He’s very pushy and aggressive. Even with me, he was very aggressive in the way he touched me and hugged me and in text messages. I asked him to back off a lot and he comes on even stronger.”

Phillips, dismissed from the basketball team in February, has not responded to multiple messages left by the Post-Dispatch asking about the sexual misconduct ruling. A friend who served as Phillips’ adviser during his university hearing and has spoken to the Kansas City Star about his case declined to answer questions about the sexual misconduct ruling. Privacy laws prohibit the Title IX office from commenting on individual cases.

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