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Bringing Down The Curtain
Robert H. Boyle
August 09, 1982
All-America Quintin Dailey's guilty plea to an assault charge led to disclosures that brought an end to college basketball at San Francisco
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August 09, 1982

Bringing Down The Curtain

All-America Quintin Dailey's guilty plea to an assault charge led to disclosures that brought an end to college basketball at San Francisco

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While with Shoff and Confino, the young woman phoned Paul Moraes, a friend who was also Dailey's resident adviser. She asked Moraes if Dailey had ever shown any interest in her, and explained that a man she believed was Dailey had entered her room that night and "made me do all kinds of crazy things." She asked if Dailey had a goatee. Moraes, who had seen Dailey the morning before, said Dailey was clean-shaven.

At the urging of Shoff and Confino, the young woman next went to the campus Public Safety headquarters, where she began giving a statement to Officer Mary Bertka. After about 15 to 30 minutes, Bertka called in the Director of Public Safety, Sviatoslav (Yash) Yasinitsky, a bearded Russian émigré who had served 27 years as a San Francisco police officer and a man who looks upon himself as a "father to the students." Yasinitsky then interviewed the young woman while Bertka filled out an incident report in which Dailey was named as the suspect. At four that afternoon, Yasinitsky went to see Dailey. As Yasinitsky later wrote in his incident report, Dailey "appeared to know nothing about this incident which was not revealed to him, except in general terms. He appeared to have had a sober countenance, and otherwise showed no reasons to suspect him as the above intruder. Dailey explained that he had moved from the fifth floor Phelan to the second, with the help of Eric Booker, another player. And that he fell asleep in his new room at about 0230 hours. He awakened about 0900 hrs. and went to the Housing desk where he talked to two white females about his residence. He also agreed to take a polygraph test if it is necessary to clear himself in this case." Yasinitsky told SI that in his encounter with Dailey, "He behaved bewildered about my questioning. I said a woman had been molested. He sprung up and said, I don't need to rape anyone.' "

At about 5 p.m. Yasinitsky spoke to the young woman a second time. He explained that he had drawn a line through Dailey's name in Bertka's report because he doubted Dailey was involved. She told him she had "a five-percent doubt" that the assailant was Dailey—she later said she simply didn't want to believe it was Dailey—and Yasinitsky warned her that she could have a tough time prosecuting the case because it would be her word against Dailey's and there was no physical evidence. But there was a reason for that. Yasinitsky took no photographs of the bruises on her neck, arms and shoulders; he didn't dust the room for fingerprints ("The only surface conducive to fingerprints was the phone, and the suspect didn't touch it," Yasinitsky says); and he didn't take the bedsheets so that the ejaculate could be tested for blood type. The young woman didn't want to go to the city police, but Yasinitsky said she would have to report the incident herself because the police wouldn't accept a third-party report. The young woman said she would think about it during Christmas vacation.

At home, the victim agonized about what course of action she should take. She returned to USF on Dec. 28, and Yasinitsky again told her she had to file a report, but he urged her not to name Dailey. A few days later, when she saw Dailey in the USF Commons, she felt compelled to act at last. She saw Yasinitsky and told him that she was going to get in touch with the police and name Dailey. Yasinitsky told her he didn't believe Dailey was the assailant, and he urged her to think it over. According to Fazio, the young woman was very frustrated that Yasinitsky was trying to talk her out of naming Dailey, and on Jan. 1 she told the police about the incident.

There can be no doubt that basketball players have gotten special treatment at USF. Charles Reynes says that about six weeks after the incident, "Yash and some lawyer brought me down and showed me pictures of black guys and had me listen to voices. Yash told me it couldn't be Quintin Dailey. It seems like they had to handle the case with kid gloves, but their gloves were awful soft. I told Yash, 'Yeah, but what about what happened last year? You wouldn't do anything then.' I was attacked by a seven-two basketball player, a white guy, Rogue Harris. The guy made death threats. I reported this, but the school told me that if I wanted to press assault charges, they would put the burden on me. It seems to me that if I'm an R.A. and a university employee, the school should back me up, and it was a very scary incident. But they kind of brushed it off. Rogue came into my room, ripped a couple of buttons off my shirt, threw me on the bed, and said—there were two other people in the room—that if they moved they were dead, he'd kill them. Then he left.

"Some of the players they recruit are not outstanding. They are not interested in going to school. There is very little discipline at USF for basketball players. It's sick, and this is my alma mater. What started the whole thing with Rogue is that he had a university chair in his room, and the student head resident for the dorm [Gerald Brunn] found out about it. He was supposed to return it, he didn't, and I told the head resident this. Public-Safety went into his room, took the chair and four marijuana plants that Rogue was growing in his room. The guy went out of his mind that his marijuana plants had been taken, and that's when he threatened me with death. This guy was near crazy—and I'd rather you didn't quote me because he lives near me and might come after me again—but he tore towel dispensers off the bathroom walls, he broke the glass in the fire extinguishers, and nobody did anything. An attitude at USF that permeates down is that no one is supposed to do anything about basketball players. I'd write him up, but then I'd leave it up to the discretion of my superiors as to what should be done. It was like I was infected, too. It's like a disease at USF." Indeed, Brunn says he complained about the commotion in Reynes's room to Yasinitsky. Brunn says Yasinitsky didn't report the incident to the San Francisco police because, "He said that if the police were brought in there would be headlines the next day because Rogue's a basketball player."

On Jan. 1, two San Francisco police inspectors, J. Peter Otten and his partner, Kevin O'Connor, began investigating the Dailey case. Both, incidentally, had attended USF; Fazio, the assistant D.A. who prosecuted the case, is a graduate of the USF law school. Throughout, Dailey maintained his innocence, and said he hadn't been drinking on the night in question. Farley Gates, a freshman on the basketball team, later testified in the closed preliminary hearing that at about 12:30 or 1 a.m. on the night in question, Dailey came into his, Gates's, room wearing a red smoking jacket and smoking a pipe. Gates's parents, sisters and brother were there visiting from New Hampshire, and Gates's father put his arm around Quintin and teased him about the pipe, saying, "You devil, you." Mrs. Gates offered Dailey a drink, but he refused. To all present, he was absolutely sober. Dailey left the room before the Gates family did at 1:30. At around 3:30 a.m., Farley Gates had to go to the bathroom down the hall and left the door to his room open because he kept it on lock. As he was about to enter the bathroom, he heard his room door slam shut. Gates began banging on the door to wake up his little brother, who was spending the night with him, and Dailey came down the hall with his red smoking jacket on. He started making fun of Gates for being locked out of his room in his undershorts.

Q. (by George Walker, Dailey's attorney). Now, calling your attention to 3:30 in the morning, when you saw him out there, and you were in your shorts, did he appear to have been drinking?

A. Not at the time, no.

Q. Were you close enough to him that you could have smelled his breath?

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