Coastal Carolina

Sexual assault? How a charge has affected this former CCU football player’s life

Miles White (46) was going to be a junior defensive end at Coastal Carolina this past season but he was dismissed from school after being charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct.
Miles White (46) was going to be a junior defensive end at Coastal Carolina this past season but he was dismissed from school after being charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct. file photo

Miles White expected to spend the 2018 college football season as one of Coastal Carolina’s starting defensive ends.

He started as a redshirt sophomore in 2017 and hoped to play well enough as a junior to warrant attention from professional scouts.

Instead, White spent the entire 2018-19 school year at home in North Charleston awaiting a trial on a sexual assault charge.

It has been about 16 months since White was arrested in February 2018 on a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, the result of an accusation from a female CCU student who had been one of his better friends on campus.

White had everything he wanted as a young college student. He was playing the sport he loved and working toward a degree in interdisciplinary studies and a possible pro football career while getting an education through an athletic scholarship.

That’s all gone because of what White describes as a false accusation.

“This has just tore me down,” he said in an interview with The Sun News. “My life has changed in a series of ways. I’m facing depression and sadness because she really took something that I loved doing from me for something I didn’t even do.

“I had consent from her to have sex with her. But she’s still claiming I sexually assaulted her. I didn’t abuse nobody. I haven’t sexually assaulted nobody or raped nobody.”

White was arrested 17 months after the alleged incident.

On Feb. 19, 2018, the woman reported to CCU’s public safety that she was sexually assaulted in September 2016, according to a CCU police report.

The report lists the incident as forcible rape at her campus apartment, but gives few additional details about the alleged crime, other than to say White said in a police interview that she invited him to her residence.

The woman did not respond to a Facebook message and could not be reached via a phone call and text message. The 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office had no comment on the case, according to Solicitor’s Office spokesperson Tonya Root, who confirmed the woman was also informed by a prosecutor of this article and chose not to comment.

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is the lesser of three possible criminal sexual conduct charges and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. A conviction also would require registry as a sex offender.

The charge involves coercion or force in the absence of aggravating circumstances, or the suspect knowing or having reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally defective or physically helpless.

Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.

White’s account

White, who turned 22 in April, said he and the woman became good friends during their freshman year of 2015-16 and spent a good amount of time together before the alleged incident, which he said was the first time they had sex.

They met through a mutual acquaintance and had a class together in the spring semester of their freshmen year in 2016, he said. After nearly every class, they would either walk back to her room or get something to eat together, he said.

“That went on the whole semester just about,” White said.

He said they were close enough to talk for hours at a time. “I thought we were good friends, actually,” White said. “I never seen this coming. Never seen it coming.”

On the night of the alleged assault, White, his friend and her new roommate, whom he had not previously met, all had dinner at her residence. Afterward, the roommate went to her room, he said, and following the post-dinner cleanup, he sat on the kitchen counter and the woman approached him.

“I started kissing on her neck and she didn’t stop me. We both walked into her room and had sex,” White said. “I took her clothes off and she took my clothes off in the room. It was consensual sex.”

He said after a brief period of sexual intercourse she told him to stop and he immediately did. After sitting at the edge of the bed for several minutes, she said she was sorry, he told The Sun News. He dressed and left the residence and the two didn’t speak again until the allegations were filed with police, he said, in part because of a no-contact order at CCU.

“After the so-called incident happened that night, I just never talked to her again,” White said.

Shortly after the incident, White said he received an email from the Dean of Students Office stating the victim was granted a no-contact order against him, and he said he complied.

White said he informed some of his coaches on the football team about the order, and they directed him to abide by it.

White said he changed his phone number, but he said the woman called him multiple times on his new number shortly before his arrest last February.

White said he answered the phone on one occasion and told her he could not speak to her because of the no-contact order. She said she just wanted to talk to him and wouldn’t get him in trouble, he said. He believes she taped the conversation.

He produced text messages for The Sun News dated Feb. 23, 2018 that he said were from his former friend, who identifies herself and asks White to call her in the messages. He responds that he is not supposed to be speaking to her, and she responds: “I know. I’m not trying to get you in trouble, I’m trying to clear the air right now. It’s taken me a year and a half to get the courage to reach out to you so I’m doing it now.”

A former student

White said he was permanently dismissed from the university shortly after his arrest based on his violation of CCU’s Code of Student Conduct, though he could not produce the verifying paperwork and said his CCU email was canceled by the university.

The Dean of Students administers initial student discipline for non-academic violations, and following a pre-hearing conference, the accused can have an administrative resolution or disciplinary hearing before the Student Conduct Board.

The university standard in cases of alleged Code of Conduct violations is a “preponderance of the information,” which is the greater weight of the evidence and is far less than a criminal court requires for conviction of a crime.

Not all accusations of sexual misconduct that can result in penalties against the accused student require police involvement. CCU’s Title IX anti-discrimination policy states complainants of sexual misconduct have the option of notifying law enforcement.

Though it appears White’s accuser went to school officials with her complaint shortly after the alleged incident, she did not file a report with campus police for 17 months.

Coastal Carolina officials would not address White’s case specifically, citing school policy. “Due to student privacy laws and protections under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Acts, Coastal Carolina University does not provide information or perspective regarding any particular student’s case,” said school spokesperson Martha Hunn in an email.

Sexual misconduct allegations that result in the arrest of a student are almost certain to also result in the suspension or expulsion of the student from CCU, according to the school’s Code of Student Conduct.

Hunn explained the process further. “Every situation reported to the university is evaluated to determine if interim measures are needed, such as interim suspension, no contact orders, etc.,” Hunn said. “Typically, if a student is found in violation of the university’s sexual misconduct policy, it is highly likely that the student will be removed from the institution.”

Students charged with a non-academic violation of school policy receive documentation from the Dean of Students Office that provides direction, according to CCU’s policy.

Coastal Carolina policies do not allow readmission for students who have been permanently dismissed, so White’s time and career at CCU are over.

While White’s reported expulsion took any decision on his football status out of the hands of CCU’s coaches, the program has a system of discipline in place.

Under recently resigned head coach Joe Moglia, the system was akin to three strikes under his Be A Man standard. Under BAM, players were expected to treat others with dignity and respect, be responsible for their actions and live with the consequences of those actions.

For BAM violations, Moglia placed players on a watch list or more serious warning list, and players could be dismissed for subsequent or more egregious violations.

New coach Jamey Chadwell said a similar system is still in effect, and he emphasized that the respectful treatment of women will be a priority.

“If somebody makes a mistake, you want to give them every opportunity to be accountable to it and try to help them through it. But I’m also a big believer that you represent this program and this university, and if you do anything to jeopardize that, you’re taking a risk not to be a part of our team,” Chadwell said.

“… Part of the BAM philosophy is treating others with dignity and respect, so how we treat young ladies is paramount. We’re going to treat women the right way. That’s a big part of my program.”

Career on hold

White, who is 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, enrolled at Coastal after being rated the 20th-best overall high school football prospect in South Carolina and 62nd-best strong-side defensive end in the country by 247Sports.com.

He was named CCU’s scout team defensive player of the year while redshirting as a freshman and played as a backup in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman, recording 38 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss while blocking three field goal attempts.

As a sophomore in 2017, White was sixth on the team with 53 total tackles, including 5.5 for a loss of yards, and also had five quarterback hurries, which was second on the team, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

White has been installing glass as a part-time job to pay bills while he waits for his case to play out. The case is still pending in a backed-up 15th Judicial Circuit Court and no court date has been set, said Root and White’s public defender.

He said he has spoken to other colleges about playing football but the responses are similar. “Every school I contact is saying the same thing, we’ve got to wait until the case is resolved and whatnot,” White said. “I love football. Football is my everything.

“In the next year or so, I hope to really put this behind me and be able to start my life again. Because my life is on pause, really pause. Because they kicked me out of school halfway through the semester, I wasn’t able to finish classes or nothing like that. … But it wasn’t my choice to leave school.”

White is miffed at the disciplinary process of sexual assault allegations on college campuses as it relates to the accused.

“They say you’re innocent until proven guilty, but I just don’t understand how she is able to still go to class and [participate in extra-curricular activities] and continue her life, while I have to be sent back home in Charleston, try to make ends meet with my family, and just have everything ripped away from me quick by just what somebody is saying,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair.”

White said he accepted a public defender after the attorney he planned to retain charged too much money for his family.

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Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.
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