Tape of Haskins holds up inquiry in sexual assaults

The release of a report on the University sexual misconduct investigation will be delayed to give investigators time to include testimony from a woman who alleges athletic officials, including former men’s basketball coach Clem Haskins, intervened to prevent legal action against a player.
Christine Shevchuk, 25, said former basketball player Courtney James physically abused her when she was involved in a romantic relationship with him in 1996.
James was convicted of fifth-degree sexual assault of another woman in 1997.
Shevchuk’s attorney, Jim Lord, said during the summer of 1996 James had at times strangled Shevchuk, locked her in a bathroom for hours and beat her with a broom.
Fellow basketball player Quincy Lewis once called University Police to control James, Lord said.
When Shevchuk broke up with James and moved in with her parents, Lord said she thought her problems were over.
But James kept calling and kept harassing her, Lord said.
Christine’s father, Paul Shevchuk, called Men’s Athletic Director Mark Dienhart to try to stop James’ behavior, Lord said.
According to Lord, Dienhart suggested a meeting with Haskins and several assistant men’s basketball coaches. James entered the meeting later. Dienhart could not be reached for comment.
Shevchuk turned over a tape of an Aug. 20, 1996, meeting to a University investigator. Her father had secretly recorded the meeting.
On the tape of the 1996 meeting, Shevchuk said, while wailing, “I am scared, can’t anybody understand that? I am scared.”
Haskins responded, “Come on, Christine, are you really afraid of him? … If I knew that he was going to hurt you or harm you, I’d kick his butt right now.”
On Aug. 26, 1996, a lawyer contacted Shevchuk and her father and asked them to sign an agreement to rescind a Aug. 21 protection order, Lord said.
In addition, the agreement forbade Shevchuk from discussing the case or the agreement itself with anyone, including government officials.
Lord said the Shevchuks did not have a lawyer present and thought they were acting in their best interest.
The day after signing the agreement, however, James’ harassing calls resumed, Lord said.
Shevchuk’s testimony about this incident was a key reason the sexual misconduct investigation report was delayed until Tuesday, said Tonya Moten Brown, University President Mark Yudof’s chief of staff. Brown is in charge of the investigation.
During the three-hour meeting with investigators Wednesday morning, Shevchuk also said she witnessed coaches giving players cash and other gifts not allowed under NCAA rules, Lord said.
Shevchuk’s father also spoke with investigators for more than five hours, Lord said.
Lord isn’t sure why investigators waited so long to talk with Shevchuk. He said he told them of her testimony more than a week ago, shortly before Yudof announced Haskins’ buyout.
“The president has always said he’d go wherever the evidence left him,” Lord said. “Unfortunately, he went before the evidence led him.”

— Staff Reporter Sarah McKenzie contributed to this report.