Women accuse Aztecs basketball player of filming, sharing sex videos

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SDSU sophomore Jalen McDaniels drives the ball up court as Jeremy Hemsley follows against Jackson State last month at Viejas Arena. (Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

SAN DIEGO — Jalen McDaniels, a sophomore forward on San Diego State’s basketball team, has been sued in a Washington civil court for allegedly filming a sexual act with a female student in 2016 while they were seniors at Federal Way High School outside Tacoma, and then sharing it with friends through social media.

Jalen McDaniels was listed in the Aztecs’ starting lineup for their game against Cal State Dominguez Hills Wednesday.

Joan Mell, the attorney who filed the civil suit Wednesday in King County Superior Court, said she expects to file another invasion of privacy suit next week against McDaniels and the school district involving a similar incident with a different woman.

Federal Way police investigated the cases twice, once in 2016 and again this fall, and last month recommended two counts of voyeurism against McDaniels. The King County prosecutor, however, declined to press charges.

“Jalen is aware of this investigation,” said Jeremy Warren, McDaniels’ San Diego-based attorney. “In fact, it has gone on for a couple years. The police have looked at it twice, and the D.A.’s office has rejected any criminal charges. He looks forward to his day in court. Right now, he’s focused on being the best student and human being he can be.”

Tally Thomas said McDaniels filmed her performing a sexual act on one of his teammates from a closet, then distributed it on his phone. Gwen Gabert said McDaniels, using his mobile phone, filmed her performing a consensual sexual act in a car in January 2016 without her knowledge or permission, then distributed the video to basketball teammates via a group chat.

Both Gabert, 20, and Thomas, 19, said they have received therapy for depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other health issues. Both also said they have attempted suicide.

Both women went public with their allegations in October and November but had not previously identified McDaniels, saying only it was a star basketball player on Federal Way High’s 2016 state championship team. One of the young women has accused the high school team’s coach of helping cover up the allegations, King 5 reported.

The suit asks for damages “for severe emotional distress past and future” but does not specify monetary amounts.

Read more at San Diego Union-Tribune.

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