Father of one of accusers in Chris Jones rape case says "a grave - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Father of one of accusers in Chris Jones rape case says "a grave injustice was done today"

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- The father of one of the women who accused Chris Jones of raping her said “a grave injustice was done today” when a Jefferson County grand jury chose not to indict the former University of Louisville basketball player and two co-defendants on any charges.

The man told WDRB News his 20-year-old daughter is “devastated” with the grand jury's decision and has spent many nights in tears since she and another woman claim they were sexually assaulted.

“She puts on a brave face but I know her,” said the man, who is not being named by WDRB to protect the identity of his daughter. “She has struggled with this. … She had no desire to be in this situation, I can promise you. She has nothing at all to gain from this and it really, really bothers me that anyone would think any differently. What in the world would she have to gain from this?”

The grand jury Wednesday afternoon issued a "no true bill" against Jones, Jalen D. Tilford and Tyvon Walker after two days of deliberations. Jones was charged with two counts of rape and two counts of sodomy. Tilford and Walker were both charged with rape. The complaints filed against those two men indicated three people were involved in the alleged incident on Feb. 22.

Attorneys for Jones told reporters that his client was "extraordinarily relieved" and "reduced to tears" after hearing the grand jury's decision.

"Police never should have charged Jones," said attorney Scott C. Cox, adding that his celebrity worked against him. "If Chris Jones' name was John Smith, it's likely" no charges would have been filed. He said the proof in the case was "100 percent exculpatory" for Jones.

But the father of the 20-year-old, who was 19 at the time, criticized the Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for what he believes was preferential treatment given to Jones, saying he believed prosecutors made up their minds before hearing all of the evidence.

“I thought they were not really seeking an indictment, for whatever reason,” he said.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ryane Conroy said prosecutors did not make a recommendation to the grand jury as to whether they should indict or not, leaving the decision up to jurors after they heard the evidence.

“Twelve members of this community know more about what happened in this case than any other people and they are the ones that made the decision on whether there was enough evidence to move forward,” she said.

Conroy declined to comment on whether she felt the grand jury made the right decision, but acknowledged that "I can see the case from both sides."

Dina Bartlett, an attorney who represented the two alleged victims, would not discuss the evidence in the case but said “there was no evidence of actual innocence in this case nor was there any evidence that tended to negate guilt.”

Scott Drabenstadt, an attorney for Tilford, said a surveillance video from the hallway of the apartment complex where victims claimed they'd been raped shows the women "giggling" and playful after the alleged crime.

"The three fellas ran into the wrong women, that's it," Drabenstadt said. "...Thank God that video existed."


Bartlett said the actions by the women in the hallway were irrelevant as victims of sexual assault “act in a way to protect themselves” and not how people believe they should behave.

If the video had been presented at a trial, Bartlett said a prosecutor could have put on an expert to add context to the actions of the alleged victims. Grand jurors did not get an “accurate picture” if they were only shown the video without anyone explaining how victims of trauma behave, she said.

When asked whether the commonwealth gave Jones special treatment, Conroy said the only way to show for sure was to release all the evidence. She added that, if the alleged victims want evidence in case released, she will ask judge to release it.

But Bartlett said that she would not want the women to make a quick decision on whether to make that request or not.

“I would advise my clients to think long and hard about making that big of a decision and I wouldn't want them to make it at such an emotional time,” Bartlett said.

Neither Bartlett nor the father would discuss the possibility of a civil suit being filed.

The father of the 20-year-old, who is not a UofL student, also expressed distrust over the relationship between Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine and Cox.

A story by Insider Louisville last week noted that Cox and his family have given nearly $6,000 to Wine for his last two political campaigns. And Cox was the campaign manager for Wine in both races.

“You gotta ask yourself a question, ‘Is that someone you think you can trust?'” the father said. “When the lead defense attorney and the commonwealth's attorney have that close of a relationship … there has got to be some trust issues.”

Reached by phone Wednesday night, Wine said, “I'm not even going to dignify that allegation with a response.”

Wine said Conroy prosecuted the case and he gave her “no directions on how to handle the case.”

The father of the alleged victim was also upset that the three defendants were first let out of jail on home incarceration after being arrested and then released without any bond.

“They (prosecutors) couldn't give me another example of a rape suspect being released on home incarceration and then … being released on good behavior,” the man said. “I'm pretty appalled by the way they have handled this case.”

And he said his daughter and the other woman were not notified by prosecutors before the three men were released. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office has said a victim's advocate tried to reach the victims the day after the men were released but were unsuccessful.

The father said his daughter tried to get in touch with someone from the office but no one returned her call.  

The man also was frustrated that prosecutors treated the case differently than a typical rape case by putting before the grand jury testimony from several witnesses over two days.

Bartlett said she knows of no other rape cases in Jefferson County where all of the evidence was presented to the grand jury.

In a typical rape case, grand jurors would likely only hear from police and a medical examiner before making a decision on whether to indict.

Conroy said, however, that it was not all that unusual and was important for the grand jury to look at everything in this case.

"We wanted the grand jury's opinion," she said. "They gave it."


The father of the 20-year-old accuser said it has been tough to watch his daughter go through this and has caused him to question his faith in the justice system.

“Why would any victim ever want to come forward?” he asked. “The victims have no rights. They are persecuted in the media ...by lawyers. To me it's sickening.”

PREVIOUS | Co-defendant of Chris Jones told police sex with women was '100 percent consensual'

PREVIOUS | Attorneys for alleged victims in Chris Jones rape case have "serious concerns" with prosecutors

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