A college football player in Alabama who is charged with repeatedly assaulting a former teammate has applied for youthful offender status in the criminal cases against him, according to a court official.
Jack Dawson, a punter for Jacksonville State University, is accused of three assaults against a former teammate during his time at Troy University, KTLA sister station WIAT reports.
The alleged assaults, which the victim said were the result of players’ perception that he was homosexual, “ranged from verbal harassment, which include[d] sexual statements and homophobic slurs, to molestation and violence, ultimately culminating with the forced sodomy of [the victim] with a pool cue,” according to a federal lawsuit filed in relation to the case.
The warrants against Dawson, which were issued in October 2021, went unserved for months until reporting by WIAT, which first highlighted the active arrest warrants against the Australian-born football player.
A court official said Tuesday that Dawson’s trial on the three charges, which had appeared on a public docket as of last week, will now be closed to the public.
“The attorney for Mr. Dawson has applied for Youthful Offender in all three cases,” Neal Armstrong, Troy’s court clerk, said in an email. “Thus, these cases are now presumed sealed and no longer open to the public. This also seals the courtroom to where no public will be allowed inside. This includes the press.”
Alabama law allows those accused of crimes that took place before they turned 21 years old to apply for so-called “youthful offender status.” Dawson was 20 at the time of the alleged assaults. If his request for youthful offender status is granted, the criminal case against Dawson will be permanently sealed from public view.
The earliest alleged assault occurred in October 2020. According to a handwritten account by the victim filed with local police, the incident occurred inside Troy University’s Davis Fieldhouse. The victim was watching a football game on his phone, “laying down minding [his] own business” when he began experiencing intense pain.
“Suddenly I felt something piercing and entering my anus/rectum area,” the man reported to police. “Jack Dawson deliberately shoved a pool stick up my anus/rectum. I had immediate intractable and excruciating pain. I immediately reached for the area and rolled on the floor writhing in severe pain. I was extremely upset and humiliated by what was done and the laughter in the area that occurred by the players who saw it. After checking my phone, humiliated and deeply embarrassed by what was done to me, I got up and went to the restroom in a ton of pain mentally and physically. I started crying on the way to the bathroom.”
On his phone, he said, was a Snapchat notification. One of his teammates had video recorded the entire assault and sent it out to Troy football players, he said, including himself.
“He filmed the entire incident from the couch,” he wrote. “I then sat down on the toilet and cried – [bawling] my eyes out because what happened.”
The second assault charge against Dawson stems from an incident in November 2020.
The victim’s handwritten account said that he was at a residence on Norfolk Avenue in Troy when Jack Dawson and a second player picked him up and carried him outside, aiming to throw him in the pool.
“One picked me up by my shoulders and the other had my legs,” he wrote. “I frantically yelled and told them to get off of me and put me down. I continued to scream, wiggle, and tell them to stop.”
Soon, the victim’s teammates dropped him on the pool deck, he said, resulting in an abrasion.
“Jack Stockdale Dawson did, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, cause physical injury…by picking him up, carrying him outside, dropping him on the pool deck of 101 Norfolk Ave, causing a large bruise to his right side,” according to the city’s complaint against Dawson.
The final assault charge against Dawson related to events that occurred in December 2020.
The victim said one day in early December, he went to the home on Norfolk Avenue to help another player with his homework. Jack Dawson soon showed up and began immediately began targeting him, he wrote.
“He grabbed a drink from me,” the victim wrote. “He commonly did things like this to show his dominance over me. He knew I would not fight back.”
The victim said Dawson then sat on top of him and would not get up, despite pleas from himself and another teammate.
After he was able to free himself, he said Dawson attacked him.
“Jack then slapped me as hard as he could,” he wrote. “I had immediate pain in my nose and face and started crying. Everyone else was laughing and kidding at me.”
Soon, the former Troy player said that Dawson contacted him, telling him to come back to the house for “a free slap.” Other players, too, urged him to return to the home to settle things with Dawson.
“I went back to the house not realizing that it was a setup,” he wrote. “[Dawson] hit me in the face with his fist a few times, causing even more pain.”
“Jack Stockdale Dawson did, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, cause physical injury…by slapping him in the face with his open hand, very hard, causing bruising to his nose,” according to the city’s complaint against Dawson.
Mary Ellen Bates, a lawyer for Dawson, said Monday that her client plans to proceed to trial on the assault charges.
In his response to the federal lawsuit against him, Dawson has denied all allegations, instead claiming he was the one victimized by his accuser.