Jack Dawson

Photo courtesy of JSU Athletics

Jacksonville State punter Jack Dawson filed a counterclaim against former Troy teammate John Haynes in September in response to Haynes’ civil rights lawsuit against Dawson, Troy University and some of the pair’s former coaches.

Haynes in July filed suit against his former roommate Dawson, three Troy football coaches and Troy University, claiming he was sexually assaulted and harassed by Dawson and that the coaches and university failed to intervene when he sought help. Dawson, who transferred to Jacksonville State in 2021, has continued to play for the Gamecocks in 2022.

In Dawson’s counterclaim, he denied all allegations of assault and also claimed to be a victim of assault.

In a response to Dawson’s counterclaim, Haynes denies assaulting Dawson. Haynes also provided text messages from Dawson and other teammates along with photos of his face after an alleged altercation that Dawson mentioned in his counterclaim.

Dawson’s attorney, Mary-Ellen Bates provided a statement on the case after providing the counterclaim.

“We will be trying this case in the court of law, as opposed to the court of public opinion,” Bates wrote. “At this point I have nothing to add.”

Two of Haynes’ attorneys, Curt Tanner and Adam Pittman, provided statements to The Chanticleer on the case after the release of counterclaims.

“Troy University football coaches were made aware of these serious accusations at the time, and they responded in a completely inappropriate and ineffective manner that did nothing to protect him from physical and verbal abuse,” Tanner wrote.

“Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for abusers to blame their victims, or even imply that their victims deserved their treatment,” Pittman wrote. “John Haynes repeatedly reached out for help, but nobody came to his aid. Our case is supported by evidence, notwithstanding any denials made by the defendant, and we look forward to pursuing justice for John.”

Coaches Brian Blackmon, Dayne Brown and Jamaal Smith, who were all employed at Troy University during the time of the incidents and were mentioned in the original case, filed a motion to dismiss, saying that they have protection as state employees. The Federal District Judge Myron Thompson will deal with this motion on Oct. 25.

According to a story published by CBS 42, Dawson pleaded not guilty in a Troy, Alabama courtroom on Wednesday morning.

In The Chanticleer’s original article, Jack Dawson was named because he was accused of sexual assault; however the plaintiff, John Haynes, was not named because he claimed to be a victim of sexual assault. With new information, the staff decided to name both Dawson and Haynes to avoid confusion in translation, given that they have both claimed to be victims of sexual assault.