Blazers' Randolph Won't Be Charged

By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian | September 21, 2006

The Multnomah County District Attorney's office said Wednesday it will not file criminal charges against Trail Blazers starting forward Zach Randolph after reviewing a sexual-assault complaint investigated by Portland police.

Prosecutors found that Randolph offered to pay $500 to two women to simulate a sex act in a room he rented at the Hotel Vintage Plaza on Aug. 11.

But the district attorney's office found insufficient evidence to show that a rape involving Randolph occurred, as was alleged.

Because of a three-day delay in the complainant's reporting of the allegation, investigators had no forensic or medical evidence and faced contradictory statements from witnesses who were intoxicated the night of the incident, according to a three-page memo from the district attorney's office.

Prosecutors also declined to bring promoting-prostitution charges against Randolph because the allegations couldn't be corroborated by anyone other than those who were involved in the potentially criminal acts.

Randolph, 25, has played five seasons for the Blazers and led the team in scoring the past three. Before the 2004 season, he was given the largest contract in team history --$84 million over six seasons.

Randolph's attorney, Stephen Houze, praised the police investigation but questioned the motives of the woman who made the complaint. He said all of Randolph's conduct was lawful.

"As the full facts were developed, it became clear that he was, in fact, the target of an unsuccessful attempt to obtain a great deal of money," Houze wrote in a prepared release, posted on the Blazers' Web site.

But attorney Glen McClendon, who represents the woman who brought the complaint, said his client was victimized and is exploring whether to pursue a civil lawsuit.

"I certainly respect the district attorney's office and understand that in the criminal context they have to apply a much higher standard of proof," McClendon said. "But it's not a comment as to whether or not my client was wronged on that night. I don't think the facts will be something Randolph will be proud of."

According to the memo written by senior deputy district attorney Don Rees, a woman went to St. Vincent Medical Center on Aug. 14 and told staff she had been sexually assaulted by Randolph three days earlier.

Police interviewed three of the four people who were in the hotel room that night. Randolph, through his attorney, refused to be interviewed.

The investigation showed that Randolph asked his "occasional sex partner" and another woman whom he had not met before to perform a simulated sex show at the hotel room. There was some discrepancy as to whether or not Randolph asked the women to perform oral sex, but there was no dispute that sex was only simulated in the show that was performed, Rees wrote in the memo.

The woman who filed the complaint said Randolph was disappointed that the show had only simulated sex and refused to pay her. After the show, she said, she had consensual sex with Randolph's friend and then fell asleep or "passed out." She claimed she awoke and found Randolph trying to have anal sex with her. She told investigators she awoke and "slapped" Randolph away twice. Ultimately, she told police that Randolph lifted her onto a table and had sex with her while she shook her head "no," the memo says.

Prosecutors said the woman admitted she was extremely intoxicated, having had three cocktails and three double shots of tequila --alcohol purchased by Randolph.

The other woman involved in the show told investigators she did not witness any sex between Randolph and the complainant, saying she was physically ill and spent about 21/2 hours in the bathroom.

A male friend of Randolph's was in the room and was interviewed by detectives. He described himself as a member of the "Hoop Family," one of Randolph's close associates. He said he "frequently sexually shares women" with Randolph but denied any knowledge of money passing between Randolph and the women that night.

He claimed he didn't see the simulated sex show because he was busy setting up music to play on his laptop, but he said he did have consensual sex with the complainant afterward, and so did Randolph.

The next day, the two women involved agreed to meet Randolph at a concert at the Portland Art Museum. The meeting never occurred. Instead, the complainant text-messaged the other woman involved, demanding $10,000 from Randolph and threatening to take the matter to lawyers the next day if she didn't get the money, the memo says. The other woman sent a message back Aug. 14, saying she'd pick up $500.

Randolph, in a statement issued by his lawyer, thanked those who have stood by him.

"Throughout this investigation he has enjoyed the support of his family, friends, loyal fans, teammates, and the Portland Trail Blazer organization," Houze wrote. "Zach wants to express his sincere appreciation to all of them as well as his regret for the embarrassment and concern they have experienced."

The Blazers said they were satisfied with the outcome, but that it was disturbing to have the allegation hanging over the head of a team member and the franchise the last month and a half.

"We're pleased that Zach has acknowledged that his actions have embarrassed the team and our fans," the Blazers' statement said. "We're undertaking appropriate steps to work with Zach and his representatives to ensure that he understands the expectations for conduct by all our players as representatives of this team and our city."

Early in the investigation, the Blazers delivered 15 dozen doughnuts to Portland police at the bureau's precincts. The team's mascot dropped off a special basketball-shaped doughnut for Chief Rosie Sizer. The delivery came shortly after an Oregonian column about how Blazers officials once held a meeting, instructing their players not to cooperate with police.

Police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz later telephoned the Blazers public relations staff to say that the doughnut deliveries were not appropriate.