Idaho Vandals

A third woman had complained to U of I about football player at center of controversy

University of Idaho president touts athletic director’s efforts to prevent sexual assault

Calling him a "role model for the university," University of Idaho President Chuck Staben expressed support for athletic director Rob Spear in comments to student leaders on Wednesday, March 28, in Moscow.
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Calling him a "role model for the university," University of Idaho President Chuck Staben expressed support for athletic director Rob Spear in comments to student leaders on Wednesday, March 28, in Moscow.

Former Idaho Vandals wide receiver Jahrie Level was involved in a police incident that included a female University of Idaho student in November 2012. That was more than four months before one female student-athlete accused him of sexual assault and harassment, and another reported harassment.

Level was cited for providing vodka to two students younger than 21 on Nov. 14, 2012. The citation was dated Nov. 27.

One of the women was taken to the hospital with a blood alcohol content of 0.36, bruising on both sides of her neck and both knees, and scratches on her back, according to a police report. She told police she didn’t remember what happened in a roughly 2-hour span from when she began drinking to when police were called.

The Moscow Police Department investigated the incident as a possible assault, according to the report, but didn’t pursue charges outside of alcohol citations for Level and the woman, who was cited as a minor in possession through consumption. Police concluded that the neck bruises were hickeys as the result of consensual activity with Level, retired Lt. Dave Lehmitz said. He supervised the campus division of MPD at the time.

The neck bruises were 3-4 inches long and 1-2 inches wide, according to the report. The doctor “stated he had never seen bruising like that before but stated it was possible it could be hickeys,” the police report says.

Bruise
This is an example of the neck bruising the woman sustained in the November 2012 incident. Provided by Moscow Police

The woman reported the incident to the U of I dean of students office, according to her mother. It’s unclear what steps were taken by the school. The woman involved declined an interview request.

Athletic Director Rob Spear told the Statesman through a spokesman that he was unaware of the November 2012 incident until February of this year, shortly after former diver Mairin Jameson publicly shared her experience accusing Level of harassment and assault in April 2013. Her blog post led the athletic department to look deeper into Level’s background.

Spear is under fire from students for his department’s mishandling of the April 2013 complaints about Level from Jameson and distance runner Maggie Miller.

Jason Gesser, who was Idaho’s interim football coach in November 2012, said through a Washington State University spokesman that he didn’t remember the incident. Level started the four games before the incident and the second game after it, but did not start in a four-receiver lineup on Nov. 17, 2012. He first appears in that box score late in the second quarter.

Lehmitz doesn’t remember what notification was made to the athletic department and it’s not listed in the police report. However, it was standard practice to inform the athletic department when athletes were suspected of breaking the law.

“Anytime we had an allegation involving any athlete, the athletic director and respective coach were always involved,” Lehmitz said.

It’s unclear if anyone realized Level was involved in at least three incidents involving police in five months until this year. In addition to the November 2012 incident:

▪  Miller told Moscow Police and football coach Paul Petrino that Level threatened her on April 8, 2013, according to a police report. Petrino says he doesn’t remember it; Spear says he didn’t know about that incident until Jameson included it in her allegations later that month.

▪  Jameson accused Level of sexual assault and harassment on April 23, 2013, which was reported immediately by police to Spear and Petrino.

After Jameson’s accusation, the university and Moscow Police collaborated on a threat assessment that determined he was “not a threat.” Spear indicated in an email to Jameson’s parents that he intended to keep Level on the roster but had told Petrino to keep him away from female student-athletes.

On May 9, 2013, when Lehmitz found video evidence supporting Jameson’s case, Level was dismissed from the football team.

Chadd Cripe: 208-377-6398, @chaddcripe

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