The pursuit and eventual hire of Chauncey Billups as the Trail Blazers' new head coach caused a stir after Billups’ past case of being accused of rape in 1997 re-emerged.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey informed reporters at Billups’ introductory press conference the team “did everything in our power to vet that incident.”
The team hasn’t released any details into their search.
“So you’re just going to have to take our word that we hired an experienced firm that ran an investigation that gave us the results we’ve already discussed,” Olshey said.
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Blazers' search didn’t include contacting the accuser, her attorney or the prosecutor from the case.
“It’s news to us that they conducted an investigation,” said Margaret A. Burnham, attorney for Jane Doe.
Burnam also told OPB "we stand by the allegations."
Billups has denied the allegation while contending in a civil case that he had a consensual interaction with his accuser. Prosecutors didn’t press criminal charges after investigating the 1997 allegation. The civil case was settled in 1999, but the terms of the settlement were never made public.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how every decision that we make can have a profound impact on a person’s life,” Billups said at the press conference. “I learned at a very young age as a player, not only a player, but a young man, a young adult that every decision, every decision has consequences. And that’s led to some really, really healthy, but tough conversations that I’ve had to have with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time in 1997, and my daughters, about what actually happened.”
The case was investigated by the Waltham Police and former district attorney of Middlesex County, Thomas Reilly. According to the report, Reilly said he wasn’t contacted by the team, but believes Billups is innocent of the charges.
“Mr. Billups has consistently said that any acts between him and the woman involved were consensual,” said Reilly. “I believe he is telling the truth because the evidence obtained during the course of a very thorough investigation backed him up.”
When Billups was asked by a reporter to elaborate on his opening statement, he was on the verge of answering until a member of the Blazers PR department stopped him from doing so. Saying Billups had already answered the question. "We’ve addressed this,” Clinkscale said. “It’s been asked and answered, so happy to move on to the next question here.”