August 04, 2020

Lawyer: client doesn’t feel safe Hallett says woman’s ordeal ‘horrific’

PORTLAND – A lawyer for a woman allegedly assaulted by two former Maine football players said she left the university and now lives in the Portland area because she no longer felt safe living near Orono.

Tom Hallett described his client’s ordeal on June 11 at her Old Town apartment as “horrific” and said the investigation was botched.

“My client,” he said, “was held down by two teammates and raped.” The assault allegedly lasted 40 minutes, he said.

The alleged rape led to wide receivers Paris Minor and Stefan Gomes being kicked off Maine’s football team and suspended from the university on Sept. 24 by the Student Conduct Code Committee.

Hallett said his client had a consensual sexual relationship with Minor for several months before the alleged assault. She did not know Gomes.

After the alleged assault, she called a friend and went to a hospital where a rape kit was administered. She also called the Old Town Police Department, which took the woman’s bedding and other evidence into custody.

Old Town detectives spent nearly two months on their investigation before turning results over to the district attorney’s office. Neither Minor, of Woodbury, N.J., nor Gomes, of Hyannis, Mass., has been charged with a crime.

So far, neither the police nor the DA’s office has commented specifically on why no charges were filed.

But Old Town Police Chief Don O’Halloran defended his department’s investigation: “I have all the confidence in the world that this case was handled appropriately.”

Hallett also criticized Portland lawyer Harrison Richardson, a football booster and former Maine trustee, for the way he has defended the two players in remarks in Maine newspapers.

Richardson has filed a lawsuit against the Maine trustees and President Peter Hoff for denial of due process.

Hallett said Richardson, by alleging several times that there is racial bias against the players – they are black and his client is white – has swayed public attention away from the facts of the case.

“These two football players engaged in horrifying conduct and for Harrison Richardson to say the football players’ rights have been violated is a travesty of justice,” he said.

Richardson, a former football player at Maine in the 1950s and a candidate for governor in 1974, dismissed Hallett’s criticism, saying he is focused on the fact that Minor and Gomes have not received the due process they’re entitled to by law.

“If the [university] would have conducted the hearing in accordance to the Student Conduct Code, there would have been a different result,” he said.

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