Hocutt: 'Wells handled process at Utah State appropriately'

Hocutt: 'Wells handled process at Utah State appropriately'

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Kirby Hocutt Kirby Hocutt

Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt said Texas Tech administrators were aware of sexual assault allegations and a pending criminal trial against a former Utah State football player before Matt Wells was hired last year.

As we reported Friday, a recent federal civil-rights lawsuit filed by one of Torrey Green's victims references Wells, then Utah State head coach, meeting with Green to discuss allegations against the athlete in January 2016. Though the lawsuit claims Green was allowed to play his senior season, this meeting happened after Green's final college football game. 

Three victims are now suing Utah State University over how it handled reports of sexual assault. Wells is not a defendant in any of the suits. Green is serving 26 years to life after being convicted earlier this year of attacking five women.

"We were aware of the situation, we had done our research and background on the situation, and had vetted the process,"  Hocutt said Saturday after Texas Tech's win in Morgantown. "We were confident coach Wells had done what was expected of him at Utah State. He followed processes within the university just as we would expect any of our employees to do at Texas Tech.

"We know Coach Wells is not named in a lawsuit. Coach Wells handled the process at Utah State appropriately. What is difficult in these situations...you've got an issue that is Title IX, involved in higher education. Which is separate from a criminal investigation and ultimately a conviction. So you've got two processes taking place, separate than each other." 

 

"[Green] was ultimately found non-responsible by the higher education...Utah State University process then," Hocutt said, referring to Utah State's investigation. In July 2016 the Salt Lake Tribune reported four women in 2015 brought allegations forward against Green. At the time of the 2016 article, the Tribune reports no legal or academic action had been taken against Green. No charges had yet been filed.

In August 2016, according to CacheValleyDaily.com, Wells said he had only recently learned of the accusations. Hocutt said Saturday Wells was referring to criminal charges being filed.

"The article, that has since been referenced that in...later that year, in the summer, he said 'this, few days ago was the first I heard of it', that's the criminal investigation. When the official charges were made. These are two different processes that are taking place at different times."

There is no published report or document publicly released that identifies Wells meeting with Green about the allegations or discussing the alleged crimes before January 16, 2016.  

Hocutt said over the past couple of days his department has re-confirmed facts as they were gathered when Wells was hired, including with Utah State administrators and legal staff.

Texas Tech released a statement from Wells Friday afternoon:

“While at Utah State, I was asked to attend a meeting with the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Torrey Green in January 2016 regarding an allegation," Wells said. "It is important to note that Torrey had already finished his senior season in 2015. I am well aware that I have a responsibility to report any possible Title IX issues. It is the Title IX Office’s responsibility to investigate an allegation, so it would have been completely wrong for me to have done so. While I followed all Utah State procedures, I am deeply saddened for the hurt suffered by these women.”

A Utah State internal investigation launched in 2016 found multiple university employees failed to properly report sexual assault allegations brought to them. This was reported by The Tribune in August 2018.

KSL.com reports Green testified at his trial earlier this year four sexual encounters were consensual and two never happened. The jury didn't buy it. He was convicted of assaulting all six women at different times from 2013 to 2015.

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