Second suit filed against San Diego State standout McDaniels for alleged sex videos

Former Federal Way student told police McDaniels showed him sex video after woman left his apartment.

A second woman has filed a civil lawsuit against San Diego State University star Jalen McDaniels who claims the athlete videotaped her engaging in a sexual act with another student without her consent while he hid in a linen closet in 2016.

Tally Thomas initially filed a tort claim against Federal Way Public Schools for $3.5 million on Oct. 15 as a precursor to the suit per state law, and subsequently filed the 16-page civil suit on Monday against the district, adding Federal Way High School basketball coach Jerome Collins, his wife and NBA prospect McDaniels.

Thomas’s attorney Joan Mell also filed a civil suit against McDaniels last week on plaintiff Gwen Gabert’s behalf. The former Federal Way High School student claims that McDaniels also allegedly videotaped her performing a sexual act on him in 2016, and disseminated that recording to other students via a group text.

Thomas’s suit claims that on her 17th birthday in February 2016, a student taunted her about the alleged video. She later learned from fellow students that McDaniels used his cell phone to secretly record her in 2016 when they were students at Federal Way High School. The alleged video depicted her disrobed and engaged in a sexual act with another student athlete, identified in court documents as Christian Jones, in what she thought was the privacy of his apartment. She claims McDaniels sent the recording to other student-athletes at the school via a group text.

Jones, who the Federal Way Police Department identified by his initials “CJ” in their investigation documents, told the detective during an interview in October that McDaniels had showed him the video in 2016 after Thomas left his apartment.

“After she left and I took her outside. I came back inside and he showed me … the video and I was like why, I was thinking like why did you do that,” Jones told the detective, adding that McDaniels showed people on the team the video on the defendant’s phone when they were in the gym and later sent it out in a group chat, which he also received though later deleted.

According to police documents, one student said he received the group text and saw one of the videos, and a second student saw one of the videos on another student’s phone. Both students could not recall who sent the message.

When Thomas’s father learned about the incident, he contacted coach Collins in February 2016. According to the suit, as a mandatory reporter Collins did not disclose the matter to law enforcement or Child Protective Services, and did not follow district policies that required the district to initiate an investigation.

“Coach Collins swept the matter under the carpet and protected his top players to ensure success at the State basketball tournament and beyond,” according to court documents. “Federal Way won its second state basketball title on or about March 5, 2016 within weeks of the exploitation and harassment coming to light.”

The documents continued: “Defendant Collins’ aiding and abetting McDaniels’ misconduct with knowledge of the content of the recordings, overlooking such unlawful behavior, and prioritizing the interests of Federal Way basketball over the well-being of Tally Thomas was conduct that would offend an average member of the community and did offend Tally Thomas.”

The suit claims that Collins urged Thomas not to report the matter to law enforcement during a meeting between her, McDaniels and Jones.

The district placed Collins on paid administrative leave when Thomas filed the tort claim in October, and said a third party is conducting an investigation on the district’s behalf. A district spokesperson said the investigation is still in progress and the district would not disclose who the independent investigator is.

Collins has declined to comment on the matter due to the active investigation.

McDaniel’s attorney, Jeremy Warren, previously told the Mirror that they would respond to the civil case in court.

Though Federal Way police recommended on Nov. 9 that prosecutors charge McDaniels with two counts of voyeurism, the King County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file criminal charges last week.

According to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office decline memo filed last week, the state declined to file voyeurism charges against McDaniels because they said the case is legally insufficient. The two-year statute of limitations had run out for a criminal charge of disclosing intimate images — a gross misdemeanor.

In addition, the state would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that McDaniels filmed Thomas and Gabert “for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desires of any person” per state law, according to the decline memo.

However, although the statue of limitations has run, “had this case been reported within two years of its commission, charges of Disclosing Intimate Images pursuant to RCW 9A.86.0101, may have been appropriately filed in municipal court,” the decline memo continues.

According to the civil suit, “the reason McDaniels escaped criminal prosecution pertains to his efforts and the efforts of his coaches to avoid detection during the two year statute of limitation applicable to the crime of distribution of intimate images. Had Coach Collins timely reported to law enforcement, the statue would not have been a reason to decline criminal prosecution. The absence of any criminal prosecution is not a legitimate rationale for defendants to claim McDaniels acted lawfully. McDaniels did not act lawfully. Neither did Coach Collins.”

The suit states that Thomas’s “spiral downward” was similar to the physical and mental distress that Gabert has experienced. Both women attempted to end their own lives. Thomas is currently taking a year off from Stanford University as she tries to manage her bi-polar and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.