Police called Tennessee coach Butch Jones in 2014 to tell him that two of his football players were under investigation for an alleged rape, and that may be a violation of state law, according to Nate Rau and Anita Wadhwani of The Tennessean. The report cites both phone records and sources with knowledge of the situation.
The records show Jones had several phone conversations with the Knoxville police department, including Knoxville police chief David Rausch and Johnson, one of the two players accused of the rape, before the players were questioned by police.
In a statement, Tennessee assistant district attorney Sean McDermott declined to comment on this specific case involving former Tennessee players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, but he did say that in general such a call could be illegal.
“(Knox County District Attorney) General (Charme) Allen opposes pre-arrest notification to any person or agency that is not made in furtherance of the investigation,” McDermott said in the statement. “A pre-arrest disclosure of sensitive information that is not made for the purpose of advancing the criminal investigation potentially could violate state law regarding the misuse of official information.”
Johnson and Williams are charged with aggravated rape and for aiding and abetting aggravated rape, but their criminal trials are on hold.