MASON, OHIO (WOOD) — A woman listed as an alleged rape victim of former Western Michigan University football player Bryson White while he lived in Ohio said she was shocked to learn the school had recruited him.
“A monster, that’s what they were recruiting,” Kira Carter, now 18, told Target 8.
White, the now former Western Michigan University football player accused of home invasion and robbery in Kalamazoo, faced four separate sexual assault allegations in his hometown of Mason, Ohio, according to police reports obtained by Target 8.
White, 18, was accused in two separate alleged gang rapes and of forcing two girls to perform oral sex, all in Mason.
He was never charged in any of the cases.
On Thursday, while WMU officials called it a “mistake” to recruit White, they said there was no way of knowing about the allegations in Ohio.
An attorney working with the family of one alleged victim says WMU should have dug deeper.
“It was very easy for us to find all of the previous allegations against him, which included sex crimes as well as various other allegations, so it’s hard for me to understand how a university was not able to check on that same information,” said Elizabeth Well, legal director for the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center.
“When you see that many charges against an individual, it should give you pause, especially in terms of bringing that individual into a campus environment.”
One of the alleged victims, now 18, told Target 8 she was 15 when White forced her behind a Catholic church in Mason, put a gun to her head and raped her next to a statue of the Virgin Mary, along with two other members of the Mason High School football team.
“He put the gun against my head and basically told me he was going to kill my mom and kill myself, and I just froze,” Kira Carter said. “He raped me. They raped me.”
She said she didn’t pursue the case, in part, because she was afraid.
“I was going to pretend like it never happened because no one would believe me.”
She said a Mason coach also later asked her not to pursue it.
“He got away with it. They all did because they were all football players, they were all well-respected, they were popular.”
“I got bullied and people just said mean things and did just cruel things to me, and I still can’t get over it.”
White was a star running back for the Mason High School Comets football team and a track star. He agreed to join the WMU Broncos football team in February.
WMU officials say he was a walk-on student who was recruited by coaches. They say he did not receive a scholarship.
The allegations against him started in December 2011, when he was 13 and was accused of forcing a 13-year-old girl to perform oral sex behind a home in Mason. The girl’s parents told Target 8 she was harassed at school and didn’t want to pursue the case.
In April 2012, he was 14 when he was accused of forcing a 13-year-old girl to perform oral sex. The girl later told police it was consensual.
White was still 14 in January 2013 when he and an 18-year-old man were accused of holding down a 14-year-old girl at an underage drinking part and taking turns raping her.
Mason High School varsity football coach, Brian Castner, heard rumors about the rape and reported it to police.
An officer familiar with the case said a clerical error in the grand jury led to dismissal of the case against the 18-year-old. The officer said prosecutors then decided against charges against White.
White was 17 when he was arrested on March 28, 2016 on charges of driving under the influence of marijuana and suspended driving. Police said his passenger had a gun and a mask.
In an email to Target 8, WMU Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard said the Broncos contacted Mason High School in May after a question arose about White’s character.
“At the time, our coaching staff did follow up on this concern, contacting Mason high school officials. We received positive reinforcement as to Bryson’s character, including the specific assertion of no known law breaking incident,” she wrote.
In an interview on Thursday, Beauregard refused to say what that question was about his “character,” saying it would violate his privacy.
While acknowledging it was a mistake to recruit White, she said there was no way the university could have known about his criminal background.
“We have 16 sports, over 350 student-athletes,” Beauregard said. “Yes, you’re going to have some mistakes along the way. This one is a mistake. We are regretful that this happened.
“I don’t know what more homework we could have done on him than what we did. They talked to the football coach directly; they talked to administrators at the school, teachers at the school. It was absolutely stated to us that there were no issues at all with this young man.”
While she refused to blame the Mason head coach, she questioned why he didn’t tell them.
“We assume that people tell the truth when we ask it,” she said.
Castner, the Mason High School football coach, refused to comment on Wednesday when confronted by Target 8 in Ohio.
White is back in Mason. Target 8 tracked him down to his father’s home. White refused to comment.
White and teammate, 18-year-old Ronald George, are accused of forcing their way into an off-campus apartment in Kalamazoo on Friday and robbing a woman of marijuana and money. White allegedly was armed with a knife, George with a gun.
The Broncos later dismissed them from the football team.