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UMBC baseball players allowed to play amidst rape allegations

Updated 9/17/2018 4:44 PM : Updates were made to clarify athletic department policies on sexual assault, and clarify the baseball roster status of the alleged. The word alleged was also added to better communicate the roles of Baltimore County officials in stifling the victim’s attempts to press charges. 

UMBC’s campus was engulfed in shock and disgust on Friday afternoon after a report from the Baltimore Brew exposed troubling news of police chief Paul Dillon mishandling rape allegations at the university. A lawsuit by two victims alleges that two separate sexual assaults were covered up by UMBC and Baltimore County officials. The suit also claims that intimidation techniques were used in an effort to silence the victims of the assaults, alleging that State’s Attorney Scott Schellenberger sent police to one of the victim’s homes and threatened to arrest them if they continued to try and press charges.

UMBC baseball players Matt Chanin, Chris Convers and David Lyskawa were accused of drugging, and later raping two Towson University students in the Fall of 2017. According to the article on the Baltimore Brew, “The pair [of Towson University students] left a Towson bar with the three men who, at a nearby apartment, encouraged the women to drink from bottles of vodka and wine while themselves were ‘pretending to drink,’ according to the complaint. After the women passed out, the men sexually assaulted them, the lawsuit says.”

According to the lawsuit, the police did little to no investigation on the matter. The case was closed very quickly, and the players were never arrested. Baltimore County officials allegedly continued to try and stifle the victim’s attempts at seeking justice. Charges were dropped, and the police allegedly threatened to arrest the victim if they continued to pursue justice.

But, the victim was eventually able to take Chanin, Convers and Lyskawa to court. On March 20, the alleged rapists were in court on charges of Sex Offense in the fourth degree, Assault in the second degree, Rape in the first degree, Perverted Practice, and Sex Offense in the third degree according to Baltimore County district court records. But, all charges were dismissed for all three of the men.

According to an anonymous source affiliated with the athletic department, athletic department officials were aware of the allegations against the players. But, despite this knowledge, they were allowed to participate in games anyway. Chanin appeared in 14 games during the 2018 season, and Convers appeared in 17. Both players appeared in a game against George Washington on March 21, before the disposition that was delivered on March 23. The source also said that the players were placed on a type of “probation” during the 2018 season.

Chanin has since graduated from UMBC. Lyskawa still lists himself as a member of the UMBC baseball team on Twitter, and an anonymous source claims to have seen Convers around campus this semester.

As of now, none of the three players are listed on the UMBC baseball roster.

During a meeting with the university officials, it was clarified that there is no separate policy for student-athletes regarding sexual assault. Though, it was said that student athletes do receive handbooks that reference the university’s policy on sexual assault. When asked why there is no separate policy. Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Nancy Young said that “[we] can not hold athletes to different standards.” The NCAA has no blanket policy for the treatment of sexual misconduct allegations, but mandates that athletic departments be compliant with each respective school’s policy.

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