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Source: Sexual assault allegations part of reason for player’s dismissal

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Sexual assault allegations made by two Duke students against Rasheed Sulaimon were known by Duke’s basketball staff but were only part of the reason he was kicked off the team in January, sources at the school said Monday.

The Duke Chronicle newspaper cited anonymous sources in a story Monday that detailed how two female students, during campus retreats with fellow students in October 2013 and February 2014, said they had been assaulted by Sulaimon.

Neither accuser was named nor did they speak to the Chronicle. Neither filed complaints against Sulaimon with police nor with Duke’s Office of Student Conduct.

Sulaimon, a junior guard from Houston, was dismissed from Duke’s team on Jan. 29. At the time, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement that Sulaimon was “unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program.”

At the time, sources in the program said the dismissal was the result of a buildup of issues the coaching staff had with Sulaimon over this season and the previous season.

The Chronicle reported that Krzyzewski and his staff became aware of the sexual assault allegations in March 2014. Athletic director Kevin White was also made aware.

Again on Monday, Duke sources said the final decision to kick Sulaimon off the team was an incident that, by itself, would not have resulted in such action. But given the preponderance of issues, including the sexual assault allegations, Sulaimon was removed from the team.

The source said Duke officials are comfortable with the way the Sulaimon situation was handled and that Title IX guidelines on sexual assault cases were followed.

Sulaimon remains a student in good academic standing at Duke and is enrolled in classes this semester.

Attempts to reach Sulaimon and Durham attorney Bob Ekstrand were unsuccessful on Monday.

Ekstrand told the Chronicle he is representing Sulaimon and that the sexual assault allegations were false.

Krzyzewski was asked several different times about Sulaimon during an ACC-run conference call with reporters Monday morning. He repeatedly declined to comment about any aspect of the story. Federal student privacy laws prohibit school officials from discussing student conduct issues.

Also Monday, Duke vice president for public affairs and government relations Michael Schoenfeld put out a statement.

“Duke is prohibited by law from disclosing publicly any particular student’s confidential education records,” Schoenfeld said. “The university takes immediate action when it receives reports of alleged sexual misconduct or other violations of the student conduct code, which includes investigation and referral to the Student Conduct Office for review in a timely manner as required by law. Duke also takes every possible action internally to ensure anyone who raises a complaint of sexual misconduct is supported and the campus community is safe.”

The Chronicle used anonymous sources to report that the first allegation against Sulaimon came during the Common Ground retreat in October 2013.

Common Ground is a four-day retreat involving 56 students that encourages discussion on diversity of race, gender, sexuality and socioeconomic status.

The Chronicle reported that three participants confirmed that one participant leveled the allegations against Sulaimon during a group discussion.

At a Common Ground retreat the following February, a second student also made similar allegations. The Chronicle said four fellow Common Ground participants confirmed the student made the allegations.

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