Texas Tech sexual assault complaints, arrest follow Jett Duffey in recruitment to CMU
Texas Tech student describes Title IX investigation, confronting the quarterback who she said raped her
Jett Duffey reached into his pants pocket and pulled out two bags of cocaine. He used his black Texas Tech bank card to cut it into lines before he and the woman snorted the drug with a rolled-up $20 bill.
Hours later, after drinking, snorting cocaine and consuming a pill Duffey gave her, the woman remembers being in his bedroom. She doesn’t remember all of the details, but the memories of what happened March 10, 2019 still haunt her.
Those memories are enough for her to understand what transpired between her and Duffey, the man many believed would be Central Michigan's starting quarterback in 2020.
Texas Tech student Chloe O’Rear told police and Texas Tech administrators Duffey raped her.
“I woke up sometime in the afternoon the next day,” she said. “I was just wearing his athletic shorts. I had bruises all over my arms, neck and legs.”
O’Rear was outside The Library Bar, a popular spot for Texas Tech students, at around 2 a.m. March 10 when Duffey approached her. She was with her friend when Duffey – with two other women – offered everyone a ride to an after-party.
Duffey was a quarterback on Texas Tech’s football team. He called someone who gave him a ride whenever the favor was requested.
The four women, along with Duffey, went to an apartment at The Cottages of Lubbock. That’s when Duffey offered them cocaine.
Earlier in the evening, O’Rear took an Adderall pill. She asked her friend for another pill. She told O’Rear she was all out.
“Jett pulled a white pill out of his pocket and said it was Adderall and gave it to me,” O’Rear said in a report to Texas Tech’s Title IX office. The Adderall pills from her friend had the number 36 on them. The pill from Duffey did not.
O’Rear said she never went home that night.
She filed a sexual assault complaint with Texas Tech on March 18, 2019, just nine days after leaving The Library Bar with Duffey.
A quarterback who threw for 2,800 passing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019, Duffey was planning to attend Central Michigan as a graduate transfer under coach Jim McElwain. Though the university was aware Duffey had been arrested in 2018 and was found responsible in a 2017 Title IX sexual assault investigation, he was denied admission after the university became aware of O’Rear's 2019 sexual assault complaint.
Before the publication of this story, Duffey's attorney, Chuck Lanehart, declined to comment. Following its publication, Lanehart reached out to Central Michigan Life to give his response.
"Jett Duffey is a talented and gifted athlete," Lanehart wrote in a text message. "He deserves a chance to continue his college playing career. It is true he was accused of Title IX allegations, and he has always maintained his innocence. Texas Tech authorities found him not responsible for the 2019 allegation. He has never faced criminal charges or been arrested in regard to these allegations."
McElwain, Athletic Director Michael Alford and President Bob Davies declined requests for comment.
“NCAA rules prohibit us from commenting on any individual that is not enrolled at CMU,” Associate AD for Sport Administration and Communications Rob Wyman wrote in an email.
That is not entirely accurate.
While Central Michigan isn’t allowed to comment on Duffey’s abilities or the contribution he could make, McElwain, Alford and Davies are allowed to confirm or deny if he is being recruited to play for the Chippewas, according to NCAA bylaws.
NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52 Comments Before Commitment:
Before the signing of a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid or before the institution receives his or her financial deposit in response to its offer of admission, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete. The institution may not comment generally about the prospective student-athlete's ability or the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution's team; further, the institution is precluded from commenting in any manner as to the likelihood of the prospective student-athlete committing to or signing with that institution.
Mid-American Conference Director of Compliance Kristin Williams reiterated the meaning of “comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment” of a player in the NCAA transfer portal.
“The negative or affirmative of a prospect is the confirmation,” Williams said. “Beyond that, not much is allowed.”
The only response provided by the university regarding Duffey was from Heather Smith, director of communications.
“Jett Duffey was not admitted and is not a student at Central Michigan University,” Smith said in an email. “Thus, there is nothing the president or anyone else at the university would be able to comment on.”
Once expected to be a star quarterback for the Chippewas in 2020, Duffey will no longer play in the maroon and gold.
“Sometimes the worst offenders are mid-level programs that are just trying to get to that next level,” said Colorado-based attorney John Clune, who has represented women in sexual assault cases against high-profile athletes, including Kobe Bryant, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston and professional baseball player Johan Santana. “If they can just get that one player, or keep that one player on the field, they feel like that’s going to take them to the next level.”
Clune also represented Deborah Ramirez against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, as well as a woman in a 2019 case who accused Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus of sexual assault and a student who said she was gang-raped by three Oregon basketball players. While serving as another woman’s attorney, Clune’s firm ran an investigation of Baylor’s football team that uncovered 52 acts of rape, including five gang rapes, from 2011-14.
Duffey started the final eight games for Texas Tech in 2019 due to a left shoulder injury sustained by starter Alan Bowman. But in 2018, he was arrested for a disturbance in front of a nightclub in Lubbock for criminal mischief. Duffey was also found responsible by Title IX for two counts of sexual assault in 2017 against an incapacitated woman.
The 2017 Title IX case was not prosecuted by a grand jury due to insufficient evidence. Duffey’s actions that led to his 2018 arrest, punching a hole in the wall of ULofts, were rejected by the Lubbock Criminal District Attorney. He was not formally charged.
The quarterback was suspended for the 2017 spring and summer semesters. Then head coach Kliff Kingsbury suspended him from team activities for one week for the 2018 arrest.
Duffey's 2019 Title IX case went to mediation, meaning all parties agreed to participate in a voluntary resolution. He was on the team's active roster for the entire 2019 season. Duffey and O'Rear completed mediation on Sept. 18. The quarterback took over as the starter on Sept. 28.
“(With) the number of breaks that star athletes can get along the way, depending on the school, it’s almost an impossible hurdle to overcome for some of these women making reports,” Clune said.
‘He came off as a really nice guy’
When O’Rear first met Duffey in October 2018 at Mesquites Bar & Grill in Lubbock, she noticed something was different about him compared to other Division I student athletes. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Duffey seemed humble and didn’t speak much about himself.
“A girl spilled a drink on me. I went to the bathroom, but was really upset,” O’Rear said. “He was asking me if I was OK. He came off as a really nice guy.”
From October 2018 to February 2019, O’Rear and Duffey exchanged text messages in hopes of hanging out. She was unaware of his arrest and the sexual assault complaint against him. On a Saturday night in late February, O’Rear said she noticed Duffey leaving the bar with a blonde woman.
“You should come have a threesome with us,” Duffey said to her, O’Rear recalled.
O’Rear instead attended a party. Her phone was sitting on the counter when the quarterback called her. Several of his Texas Tech teammates who were at the party saw the call. They made O’Rear “answer it in front of all of them on speakerphone.”
Duffey used “vulgar” language, said O’Rear, who believes his teammates made fun of him the next day at practice. She tried to text Duffey the following week. The messages didn’t go through. She said he blocked her phone number.
Two-and-a-half weeks later, O’Rear saw him at The Library Bar with two girls. She spoke to him as she was leaving the bar with her friend.
“Where are you headed?” Duffey asked O’Rear.
She said it seemed like Duffey was no longer upset about the phone call. Duffey invited all four of the women to an after-party. Since she had been drinking, O’Rear said she told Duffey that she wouldn’t be able to drive her vehicle. He offered to move her car so it wouldn’t get towed. She handed him her keys.
When O’Rear arrived at Duffey’s after-party, the five of them were the only people there. O’Rear got to the apartment at 2:50 a.m. and said she hadn’t consumed alcohol for about an hour.
One woman immediately went to her room. Another woman “couldn’t stand” or “speak very clearly,” O’Rear recalled. The others in the apartment were O’Rear, her friend and Duffey. They snorted cocaine together.
“It was probably around 5 a.m.," O’Rear said. "My friend and I were getting pretty tired. I had work that day, so I asked her if she had more Adderall. We usually take it when we go out.”
O’Rear’s friend said she didn’t have any left.
“I have some Adderall if you want some," Duffey told O’Rear.
She said Duffey then pulled out a plastic bag with two small, white, chalky pills. He handed her one, and she swallowed it, O’Rear remembered. She also remembers thinking to herself that it didn’t look like an Adderall pill.
A ride-sharing service was called for O’Rear and her friend so they could go home. As they were leaving, Duffey interjected. He wanted to go with them to make sure everyone got home safely, O’Rear said.
Upon arriving at her friend's apartment, O’Rear left her purse and phone on the table before making sure her friend got to her room safely.
Once again, Duffey interjected. O’Rear said he inquired about sex.
“Oh, we’re not having a threesome?” Duffey asked her. “I thought that’s why we were coming over here.”
“No,” she responded. “I was making sure she got home, and I have work in the morning.”
O’Rear grabbed her purse and phone and got ready to call a Lyft to get back to her car – the one Duffey moved earlier in the night. She couldn’t find her car keys, O’Rear said, which also have her apartment keys attached to them.
The last person she said had the keys to her vehicle was Duffey.
“Hey, where are my keys?” O’Rear remembers asking Duffey.
“I gave them back to you,” Duffey responded.
Without the keys to get into her apartment, O’Rear said she agreed to stay at Duffey’s apartment that night.
Walking through the parking lot, O’Rear began to feel “out of it.” O’Rear blames the pill she had taken from Duffey for causing her to feel light-headed and "weird." O’Rear got into a Lyft with Duffey at 6:09 a.m. and was dropped off at 6:12 a.m. at Duffey’s apartment.
When she stepped out of the vehicle, O’Rear said she tripped walking up the stairs to his door. Soon after they went inside his apartment she began to black out.
She remembers his room.
She remembers the red Christmas lights.
She remembers when he started choking her.
“I swear it felt like the longest time. He switched hands, and I was able to catch my breath," O’Rear said. "At this point, I felt like I could control myself a little more.”
She began to fight back.
“He goes from choking me to holding down my legs and shoulders,” O’Rear said.
And then, O’Rear said, Duffey raped her.
Incident report ends in mediation
On Sept. 18, 2019, O’Rear and Duffey signed an agreement as Texas Tech’s Office for Student Rights and Resolution closed the case without an opportunity for a future appeal. Neither O’Rear nor Duffey was assigned “blame or responsibility” in the case, and it ended through mediation.
“If a school was motivated to bury something, getting it into mediation is probably the best way to do that,” Clune said. “Generally speaking, that’s the optimal way for a school to make something go away quietly – to get everyone to sign on the dotted line.”
In mid-May, four months before agreeing on mediation, O'Rear went to the Lubbock Police Department and gave an on-camera statement of the assault. After an investigation, O'Rear said she received a phone call from the district attorney. He told her charges weren't being pressed due to insufficient evidence.
"I found out they weren’t going to press charges four days before the mediation was even set," O'Rear said.
Duffey agreed to attend a sexual harassment training program with the university’s Risk Intervention & Safety Education (RISE) office and to comply with any additional recommendations. He also was ordered to attend a psychological evaluation with a private licensed psychologist and was told to follow recommendations concerning an ongoing treatment plan.
He agreed to give O’Rear a verbal apology regarding the incident.
"It was two sentences," O'Rear said. "There was no, 'I'm sorry.' His lawyer wrote it in front of us, and (Duffey) read it off a piece of paper."
After choosing to comment for this story, Lanehart provided a Title IX document from Jan. 8 confirming his client "complied with all terms of the voluntary resolution." Since the case went to mediation and neither Duffey or O'Rear were assigned "blame or responsibility," the quarterback was "not found responsible for any misconduct," according to the document from Texas Tech's Office for Student Rights and Resolution.
O’Rear was allowed to read Duffey a statement of her own.
There’s no words I could ever say to express the pain you’ve caused, not only to me, but to my family, other women, and worst of all, your own family.
Even though words will never bring me the justice I deserve, nor will they have any impact on you, your integrity, or your future, these words need to be spoken in order for me to get closure. Know that these words are being spoken to you, even though you don’t deserve them, so that I’m able to move on and heal from the emotional and physical lifelong damage you caused, in what you think was only one night.
What you see as one night, is a lifetime for me. That night continues to haunt me every day.
Whether it appears in my dreams,
A flashback that floods my mind when physically touched by another human being,
The paranoia that every man I see is looking to harm me like you did,
The feeling that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be safe,
Being unable to trust anyone,
Looking in the mirror and seeing the scars you left that night, involuntarily triggering the first time I looked in the mirror, after you brutally raped me, and only being able to see a lifeless girl, who wanted so badly to escape those memories.
And the inevitable grief that grasps at every opportunity to take me prisoner, no matter how hard I try to stay strong and heal from the intentionally cruel violation you did.
That night has taught me so many valuable life lessons, that unfortunately, you'll never have the gift of receiving. These lessons weren’t learned in “one night,” which is apparently how you prefer to do things.
Instead, they were cultivated through my own personal journey. They were built with hate, anger, vengeance, embarrassment, guilt, and no self worth. However, these bloomed into joy, grace, forgiveness, humility, pride, and self love.
After that night I was convinced you had ruined my entire life, and that a part of me had died that night, but I no longer believe that. Your actions motivated me to discover my true self, that’s always changing and growing, and I honestly love who I am.
My hope for you is that you learn to love yourself, so that you no longer feel the need to destroy other women for validation.
I have no idea how you feel about your actions. I don’t know if you feel guilty, embarrassed, remorseful, or if you’re proud of yourself, but that is your “one night.”
Coping with the emotions you have over that “one night” will haunt you, just like they do to me. Gratefully, I know who I am and how to handle this trauma. You, however, will have a much harder journey.
There was nothing I could do to fight you off, and we both know I tried. I did all I could to protect myself. You on the other hand, took pride and enjoyed taking something that wasn’t yours. You took pleasure in causing me pain, and I hope you see the pleasure I have now in owning the truth and my past. I’m choosing to move forward and let you handle that “one night,” which I know will only torment you for the rest of your life.
Understand that God knows what you’ve done, and He takes vengeance into his own hands. I do hope you find it in yourself to admit to God what you’ve done, and ask for His forgiveness. You will receive His grace, and understand what every single one of your victims feel when they finally heal from your cruelty.”
Attempting to find home at Central Michigan
Knowing Bowman would presumably be healthy for Texas Tech in 2020 and win back the starting quarterback job, Duffey was faced with a decision – compete or transfer elsewhere. He entered the NCAA transfer portal on Dec. 13.
Duffey announced his transfer to Tulane on Jan. 10, giving Green Wave coach Willie Fritz a replacement for quarterback Justin McMillan.
Two days later, Duffey said he was no longer headed to Tulane.
“I have decided to keep my recruitment open and continue to look for a new home,” Duffey wrote on his Twitter account, which has since been deleted. “I would like to wish the Tulane football program the best of luck during their upcoming season, and to thank them for believing in me.”
Duffey apparently did not meet Tulane's academic qualifications.
Eight days later, Duffey announced his transfer to Central Michigan. ESPN reported Duffey "would meet the requirements for admission" at CMU. He visited the Athletic Department in January, but his application for admission has since been denied.
The former Texas Tech quarterback remains in the NCAA transfer portal in search of his next destination. A request to Duffey for comment for this story went unanswered.
O'Rear is completing her master's degree in accounting. After her experience with Texas Tech administrators and their investigation of her sexual assault complaint, she is unsure whether she will walk in commencement later this year.
O'Rear said she wanted to share her story, in part, to show other survivors of sexual assault that they are not alone and also deserve to be heard.
"I want to give other people a voice," O'Rear said. "I want to show everybody that it doesn't matter who believes you. All the women that have been in your shoes, we believe you."
"Even if your story looks bad, whatever you did that night doesn't give someone the right to rape you."