Amid a Duke University investigation into a rape accusation leveled against a former Blue Devils basketball player, the accuser reportedly told friends that former star Corey Maggette was the one who committed the sexual assault in 1999.
According to a New York Times report on Monday, Meredith Watson separately told two friends that Maggette was the previously unnamed Duke player who raped her two decades earlier. Watson, in a statement released Friday by her attorney, did not name the player she said raped her 20 years ago.
Maggette, who played just one season at Duke in 1998-99 before a 14-year NBA career that ended in 2013, issued a denial through a spokesman Monday evening.
“It has only been through media accounts and a statement from Meredith Watson’s lawyer that I first learned or heard of anything about these sexual assault allegations,” Maggette said, per the statement. “I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge.”
Maggette currently works as an analyst during Los Angeles Clippers broadcasts for Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket. A Fox Sports West spokeswoman emailed a statement to the Times that said, “Fox Sports takes allegations of misconduct seriously, and we are looking into the matter. We have no further comment at this time.”
Watson’s attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, issued a statement on Friday that said, in part, that Watson originally reported the alleged rape while in school and “went to the dean, who provided no help and discouraged her from pursuing the claim further.” That statement did not name any specific former Duke player.
The Times report cited R. Stanton Jones, a law firm partner in Washington and an apparent childhood friend of Watson growing up in Baltimore, who told the newspaper that Watson had told him in the summer of 2001 that then-Duke player Maggette had raped her. According to the report, Jones chose to speak up now, saying it “seemed like the right thing to do.”
The Times also reported that a spokeswoman for Watson’s attorney shared a Facebook message from March 2017 between the alleged victim and a friend, with the message also accusing Maggette of raping Watson while the two were attending Duke.
Duke athletic director Kevin White addressed the allegation, one that longtime head coach Mike Krzyzewski said he wasn’t aware of until just days ago, in a statement released Saturday.
“Duke first learned of the allegations involving a student-athlete last night when they were reported by the media,” White said in the statement. “Coach Krzyzewski confirms that he had no knowledge of the alleged conduct from 1999.
“The university is looking into the matter and will have no further comment at this time.”
Krzyzewski was asked about the situation after his No. 2 Blue Devils defeated No. 3 Virginia 81-71 on Saturday night.
“I think there was an allegation made, right?” Krzyzewski said. “So, I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but there is an allegation. I did not find out about until late last night. I had no knowledge. ... Our university will take care of whatever actions and give whatever information that is needed.”
Watson is also the second woman to accuse Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. Watson and Fairfax attended Duke together in 2000.
—Field Level Media