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Report: Mark Cuban investigated for alleged sexual assault in 2011, charges never filed

Wednesday - 07/03/2018 11:33
"It didn’t happen"
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was investigated for alleged sexual assault in 2011, according to a new report. Investigators “determined there was insufficient evidence to press criminal charges,” and suspended the case
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was investigated for alleged sexual assault in 2011, according to a new report. Investigators “determined there was insufficient evidence to press criminal charges,” and suspended the case

Police in Portland, Oregon, investigated an allegation of sexual assault against Mark Cuban in April of 2011, according to a report published Tuesday by the Portland alternative weekly Willamette Week. A woman claimed that, while taking a picture at a nightclub, the Dallas Mavericks owner “thrust his hand down the back of her jeans and penetrated her vagina with his finger.”

After an investigation into the claim, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office “determined there was insufficient evidence to press criminal charges,” according to reporter Nigel Jacquiss, who obtained the police report through a public records request. Cuban was never charged, the case was never previously reported, and Cuban’s lawyer told Willamette Week that “her accusations are false.”

“It didn’t happen,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News via email on Tuesday night. Cuban also forwarded along the memo written by the prosecutors announcing their decision not to move forward with the case “because the complainant does not want to proceed and I have concluded no crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The woman who went to police back in 2011, however — whom Willamette Week did not name because she’s the alleged victim of sexual assault — maintains that Cuban crossed a line on that night at the Barrel Room in Portland’s Old Town neighborhood.

“I filed the report because what he did was wrong,” the woman, now married and in her mid-30s, told Willamette Week in a brief interview. “I stand behind that report 1,000 percent.”

The report about the 2011 allegation comes two weeks after Sports Illustrated published an investigation into a Mavericks “corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior.” The SI story included allegations of serial sexual harassment of female employees by former team president and CEO Terdema Ussery, as well as separate instances of domestic violence by former team beat writer Earl K. Sneed, who remained on staff in what Cuban would later call “a horrible mistake.”

In the wake of the SI report, the Mavericks hired an independent law firm to conduct an investigation into the depths of the franchise’s harassment issues over the past two decades. The NBA has said it is closely monitoring the investigation. The Mavericks have also hired a new interim CEO, Cynthia Marshall, who made it clear that the organization would strive to create “a workplace where there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment, domestic violence or any type of inappropriate behavior.”

According to Willamette Week, the alleged incident took place in April of 2011, when the Mavericks were in town for their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers. The woman had gone to the Barrel Room with her boyfriend and friend; the boyfriend recognized Cuban standing under a large tent outside the bar, and suggested she take a picture with him. Several hours later, as they were preparing to leave the bar, the woman and her friend say they saw Cuban standing by himself, and approached him for a photo:

 

“It was apparent he was very drunk,” the woman’s friend later told police. “His eyes were half closed, he was unstable on his feet, and he was slurring his words.”

 

The alleged victim asked Cuban to pose for a picture.

 

She told police that Cuban initially placed his right hand on her lower back.

 

“He then moved his hand down until it was on her buttocks,” according to [Portland Police Detective Brendan] McGuire’s summary of the alleged victim’s statement. “Cuban then pushed his hand down the back of her jeans and inside her underwear where he cupped his hand over her groin area and inserted the tip of his finger into her vagina.”

The woman discussed the matter with family and friends before reporting it to police more than a week after the alleged incident. She submitted cellphone photos as evidence, including two that the detective on the case described as “significant”:

 

“In both images, Cuban’s right shoulder is lowered and he appears to be stretching to reach his arm down,” McGuire’s report says. “In one of the pictures, his arm can be seen behind [the alleged victim] and it appears Cuban is reaching down toward her buttocks.”

 

McGuire also noted the alleged victim’s expression: “Her teeth are clenched, eyes wider than the other pictures and brow raised showing a look of surprise and strain.”

Staff at the nightclub told police they hadn’t seen anything untoward. Ditto for then-Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and former Blazers television reporter Lindsay McCormick, whom Cuban told police had been with him at the bar. According to the transcript of his phone call with McGuire, Cuban categorically denied any wrongdoing during a lengthy conversation in which he expressed surprise at the allegation and no small amount of concern about what it could mean for him:

 

Cuban: I mean, wouldn’t she have said something to somebody?

 

McGuire: Well, according to her, she did. According to her, she immediately told her friends she was with, her boyfriend, and then basically that started a whole several-day argument as to what they should do about it. Before they actually decided to talk to us.

 

Cuban: There’s just no way. There’s just no way. Just no way. If she told five friends right there and then, then that’s what they’re gonna tell the judge and I’m gonna be f****d. Oh my God. [sighs] I don’t know what to do.

 

McGuire: Well, unfortunately, I can’t help you with that.

 

***

 

Cuban: F*** me! I’m so f****d.

He wasn’t. McGuire’s investigation concluded with a recommendation that “the case be suspended,” due to the exhaustion of all leads and a lack of evidence to corroborate the woman’s claims. No charges were ever brought.

– – – – – – –

Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@oath.com or follow him on Twitter!

Follow @YourManDevine

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