Editor’s note: This article contains discussions of sexual assault and rape.
The University of New Mexico settled a civil lawsuit pertaining to the school’s handling of a 2016 rape allegation brought by a former student. What UNM will pay the plaintiff — or to what degree they will admit fault — remains unclear.
The settlement stemmed from a civil suit brought by former UNM student Teriana Bagley on Jan. 23 this year which alleged "a campaign of misinformation, intimidation and retaliation (was) conducted by and through Coach (Bob) Davie and the UNM football program."
UNM declined to provide a statement about the settlement or its terms except to say "the settlement is confidential per state statute."
The motion to dismiss and settle out of court came a week before the Board of Regents were set to vote on a contract buyout for former football coach Bob Davie’s contract on Dec. 10. The buyout is expected to be in the many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Davie was suspended in 2018 for his involvement in the alleged cover-up and interference with investigations.
New Mexico’s Risk Management Division, which handles some lawsuits for public entities, has previously withheld settlement payments and terms made by New Mexico’s flagship institution from the public. It’s unclear whether Risk Management will release the details of the settlement after the legally allotted six-month holding period.
At the time of the alleged rape, the University had been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division since December 2014 due to UNM "not adequately respond(ing) to … reports of sexual assault," according to the complaint.
Below is a timeline of events leading up to the settlement of Teriana Bagley v. The University of New Mexico Board of Regents.
During the 2015-2016 school year, Bagley was studying nursing at UNM. According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Jan. 23, 2019, in the early morning hours of Feb. 19, 2016, she was raped by former UNM student and football player Nias Martin.
In a response filed in court on Mar. 6, 2019, UNM confirmed Bagley was "subjected to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature by Nias Martin and that such conduct occurred in Mr. Martin’s bedroom in Lobo Village."
Martin stated in a UNMPD interview soon after the alleged rape that Bagley told him "no and stop" multiple times during the incident at Lobo Village, but "her actions of kissing him kept him having sex with her," said UNM’s lawyers in court documents.
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Bagley contended in the complaint that Martin lied to UNMPD. She claimed he provided "contradictory information" to officers and "Martin eventually admitted to UNMPD that the plaintiff repeatedly told him 'no' and 'stop' while he was having sex with her."
After UNMPD asked Davie on Feb. 23 if he knew of Martin’s whereabouts in an attempt to execute a search warrant to obtain a DNA sample, Davie stated he had "dropped off Martin at an attorney’s office" and would ask him to contact UNMPD when he returned, according to UNM’s answer to the complaint.
On the afternoon of the alleged rape, Bagley had DNA evidence collected from her body. "Bruising and injuries" were documented as well, according to both UNM’s court filings and the original complaint.
It wasn’t immediately clear why a DNA sample was never obtained from Martin following the opening of a UNMPD case on Feb. 20, when Bagley reported the alleged rape to campus police.
After interviewing Martin and searching his apartment, UNMPD forwarded their report to the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). OEO is tasked with "investigating any allegations pertaining to Title IX violations and tak(ing) prompt effective action to end any misconduct that occurred, remedy its effects and prevent its recurrence," according to their website.
Davie called a team meeting after being made aware of the rape allegation, which UNM confirmed in court documents. What was said in the meeting, however, was disputed by both parties to the suit. Bagley's attorneys contend Davie instructed his players to come to him rather than the OEO with any information about her.
UNM attorney Quentin Smith responded by saying the University was "without sufficient knowledge or information to deny the allegations … and therefore, denies those allegations."
Witnesses who spoke on the condition of confidentiality during a later preliminary investigation corroborated accounts of Davie telling UNM football players to "get some dirt on this whore" during the closed-door meeting.
Meanwhile, Martin continued to play for the football team amidst the OEO proceedings. Martin was repeatedly contacted by the OEO in an attempt to schedule a meeting and with instructions on how to respond to the allegations. Participation in any OEO investigation is voluntary, according to departmental policies, and no disciplinary action was taken.
Bagley eventually withdrew from the University amidst the turmoil and subsequently enrolled at a college in Arizona, according to the complaint. Further, she wasn’t notified of the outcome of the University’s Title IX investigation until February 2018, when she came to UNM from her residence in Arizona to "investigate the matter for herself."
UNM’s response in court filings denied those allegations.
The lawsuit further alleged that, despite having opened a Title IX investigation on March 17, 2016 at Bagley’s express request, the OEO didn't issue a "preliminary letter of determination finding probable cause" that Martin violated the University’s policy regarding sexual violence and sexual misconduct on Dec. 8, 2016 — nearly ten months after UNM was alerted to the alleged sexual assault.
Martin played in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl nine days later and graduated from UNM in the spring of 2017.
In August of that year, UNM received a letter from a former football player who "identified specific concerns about the football program and culture," including Davie’s handling of the allegations against Martin. Subsequently, the University conducted two investigations of the Athletics Department, hiring retired federal judge Bruce Black and later retaining the law firm of Hogan, Marren, Babbo & Rose Ltd.
Davie was suspended for 30 days without pay in the spring of 2018 before being reinstated. Former Interim President Chaouki Abdallah said the investigations identified "blind spots" and violations of UNM policies, and the Athletics Department instituted mandatory Title IX and sensitivity training.
Despite the rape allegations, Martin was briefly picked up by the Baltimore Ravens after graduating from the University. As of 2019, Martin played in the Arena Football League for the Baltimore Brigade. He was never arrested, and the 2nd District Attorney's office never pursued criminal charges.
Robert Maler, Cameron Goeldner, Danielle Prokop, Matthew Narvaiz and Kyle Land contributed reporting to this article.
Justin Garcia is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Just516garc
Andrew Gunn is a senior reporter and copy chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @agunnwrites