Valley View High School in Riverside, CA removed former OSU football player Jason Dandridge from a list of candidates for their hall of fame after another another alumnus informed them that in 1998, Dandridge and a group of men had been accused of rape while attending OSU.
Twenty Year Silence
Dandridge and the others were arrested, but never formally charged. Brenda Tracy, the woman who made the allegations, reportedly stopped assisting the authorities, but not because she no longer believed what she said. A deputy district attorney for Benton County said at the time that “the witness has not recanted or changed the statements she originally gave the police.”
“At the time I was receiving death threats,” Tracy told reporters recently, “And the community in general was turning against me.”
Tracy spoke out about her experience in an interview with The Oregonian in 2014, prompting a formal apology from the president of OSU. She now tours the country speaking and campaigning to stop sexual violence, and has visited over 90 colleges and universities in the last four years.
Recognition and Recompense
Tracy said learning that Dandridge was up for a hall of fame award was “an extreme gut punch,” and “made her feel like she was being victimized all over again.”
Eric Lyman, the Valley View alumnus who brought Dandridge’s arrest to the attention of school administrators, believed he was doing the right thing for his alma mater.
“This is totally inappropriate,” Lyman told reporters, “If you’re going to be in something like a hall of fame, you have to be accountable and you have to have a certain set of values.”
Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora responded directly to Lyman the day after he notified the school to inform him Dandridge had been removed from the hall of dame list. Kedziora also contacted Tracy personally.
“He said […] that he wanted to make sure that I knew that I mattered, and that what happened to me mattered,” Tracy said, “He just felt so badly that the entire situation had happened in the first place.”
By Ian MacRonald