A Baltimore judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Coppin State University and its former men’s head basketball coach Juan Dixon that was filed by a former player alleging a member of the program sexually assaulted and blackmailed him.
The player, identified by The Baltimore Banner as 23-year-old Iba Williams, filed the lawsuit on Nov. 2. It alleged that Lucian Brownlee, a teammate who went on to serve as director of player development sexually assaulted and blackmailed him and that the university failed to protect it’s student athletes.
The Baltimore Banner reported that Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa K. Copeland made the ruling based on various legal grounds at a hearing on Monday. However, she said she would allow the complaint to be amended, stating, “We are very much at the very beginning of the case.”
The lawsuit claims in the Fall of 2018, Williams was deceived by someone pretending to be a young woman on social media who convinced him to send images of a “sexual nature,” which he believed were “private and in the context of developing a romantic relationship.”
The lawsuit states that the person revealed that the young woman did not exist and told Williams that he would have to “submit to further demands or risk the public disclosure of the material.”
The Baltimore Banner reports that the blackmailer later directed Williams to “engage in sexual encounters” with Brownlee, who had since graduated and became part of the coaching staff, the lawsuit alleges.
According to The Baltimore Banner, the lawsuit claims the following: “Upon information and belief, the blackmailer was Coach Brownlee.” The extortionist, the complaint asserts, revealed material to members of the men’s basketball team as well as the public.”
According to the lawsuit, Williams was made aware by Dixon that Brownlee was “mentally ill or otherwise emotionally imbalanced,” and stated that Director of Athletics Derek Carter and Coppin State knew about that history.
Furthermore, the lawsuit stated that Coppin State questioned Williams about his past sexual experiences and orientation after he asked the school to conduct a review of the claims of harassment, sexual assault, and blackmail, according to The Baltimore Banner.
After six seasons with the school, Williams left Coppin State in March and is now attending Morehouse College.
Dixon was relieved of his duties as head coach in earlier this year in March.
The Baltimore Banner reports that the judge also dismissed the counts against Carter, the University System of Maryland, and the State of Maryland.