Two women are accusing a San Diego State University men’s basketball standout of secretly recording them performing sex acts before sharing the footage on social media, which drove them to the brink of suicide.
The women filed a lawsuit Wednesday in a Washington state civil court alleging that sophomore forward Jalen McDaniels — a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward originally from Federal Way in Washington — recorded them without their consent in 2016, when they and McDaniels attended Federal Way High School outside Tacoma, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for “severe emotional distress past and future,” comes after both women went public with their allegations as early as October, but failed to identify McDaniels as the alleged suspect until Wednesday’s press conference. Police in Federal Way had previously recommended two counts of voyeurism against McDaniels, but prosecutors in King County declined to file charges, attorneys told the newspaper.
“Jalen needs to figure out that women matter,” said attorney Joan Mell, who represents both women. “It’s not about the money. If his paycheck to these women is 5 cents and he has to own the fact that it was wrong, good for him. Because that’s what needs to be heard. He needs to acknowledge that you cannot do that, and no other women should be vulnerable or victimized by Jalen McDaniels.”
One of the women, Gwen Gabert, 20, said McDaniels used his cellphone without her consent to record her performing a consensual sex act in a car in January 2016. McDaniels then shared the footage with his high school teammates in a group chat message. Gabert reported the incident to police three months later, but a lack of probable cause led to no charges being filed, according to the Union-Tribune.
“I want him to be held responsible for his actions,” Gabert told the newspaper. “And I want him to have something that will impact him [through] the years, maybe impact him forever, because of how serious it is — just have consequences.”
A second woman, Tally Thomas, 19, accused McDaniels of filming a sex act in 2016 on one of McDaniels’ teammates before circulating it using his phone. Like Gabert, Thomas said she had attempted suicide following the alleged incident and has been treated for depression, anxiety and eating disorders, according to the Union-Tribune.
“I did nothing wrong,” Gabert continued. “I have consequences for the choice I made on my 18th birthday. I should have been able to make those choices and trust Jalen without having consequences that led me to almost take my life and still to this day be traumatized by what he did.”
Mell said she will also file another invasion of privacy lawsuit next week against McDaniels and Federal Way Public Schools regarding a similar incident involving another woman.
An attorney for McDaniels, meanwhile, said the sophomore has long been aware of the allegations.
“In fact, it has gone on for a couple of years,” attorney Jeremy Warren told the Union-Tribune. “The police have looked at it twice, and the DA’s office has rejected any criminal charges. He looks forward to his day in court.”
San Diego State officials said in a statement Tuesday that McDaniels — who is averaging 14.7 points a game this season — would remain on the Aztecs. The decision was made by the athletic department and other high-ranking university officials, a source told the newspaper.
Gabert also claims that McDaniels’ talent on the basketball court has made proving her allegations much more difficult after initially going to police in April 2016.
“When I came forward, the reason he didn’t get in trouble was because he was an athlete,” she told USA Today Sports. “People didn’t want to hurt his career. I wasn’t valued at all.”
Source: Read Full Article