An attorney representing the University of Nebraska Athletic Department was aware of an investigation against freshman running back Maurice Washington as early as September, according to an incident report obtained by The Daily Nebraskan.
Jon Bruning, who had been contacted by the athletic department at the time, contacted an investigator from the Santa Clara Sheriff’s office in September 2018 to inform them he had been asked by the department to represent Washington.
Washington is currently being charged with distribution of child pornography and “revenge porn” under California law. Washington allegedly sent a video of his ex-girlfriend, who was 15 at the time, engaging in sexual acts with two individuals in a minivan. He followed up the video by sending the message “remember this hoe [sic].”
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s detective Colin Haselbach conversed with Bruning regarding the Washington investigation. Haselbach said Bruning questioned why the sheriff’s department was pursuing the case, according to an NBC Bay Area article.
“He said, ‘Do you actually charge people in California for stuff like this?’” Haselbach said to NBC Bay Area. “He said, ‘Here in Nebraska, it would be highly unlikely we would charge on a case like this.’ He basically said we would tell [Washington] to delete [the video] and not talk to the girl again. I explained we do take these cases seriously and that’s why we’re investigating it.”
Haselbach made numerous attempts to contact Washington over the phone, but was never able to reach him. On August 29, Haselbach contacted Ed Sexton, an investigator with the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, for assistance in the case.
According to the report, Sexton called Washington several times on Sept. 10 and 11. After Washington didn’t return the calls, the detective also sent several text messages on Sept. 11, 12 and 13 requesting to talk with Washington about the case, but Washington again did not respond to the detective.
On Sept. 13, Jamie Vaughn, the executive associate athletic director for the athletic department, contacted the detective inquiring about Washington’s situation. According to the report, Vaughn was waiting for the detective's call, but was “contacted by the Football Staff who wanted to know what was going on … They were concerned about him needing a lawyer.”
Sexton told Vaughn he needed to interview Washington, and the report noted that Vaughn said he would try to set up an interview the week of Sept. 17.
Bruning then contacted Sexton on Sept. 14. Bruning indicated he was representing the athletic department at this time, but would “probably refer the case to another attorney” if it was a criminal matter.
During this conversation, Sexton told Bruning the nature of the case. According to the report, Bruning indicated he would let the detective know if and when he could interview Washington.
Sexton received a phone call from Bruning on Sept. 19, when he informed Sexton he had been contacted by the athletic department to represent Washington. Bruning indicated he had briefly discussed the case with Washington, but Washington seemed “legitimately confused” about the charges, according to Sexton’s report filed that day.
Washington’s attorney, John C. Ball, released a statement on Tuesday announcing his client’s self-surrender.
Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos, in a radio interview, said the athletic department is ensuring Washington’s cooperation.
“Obviously we’re looking into it every way we can but it’s a legal matter,” Moos said. “We want to make sure Maurice is cooperating — which he is. We also want to make sure he knows he has a great deal of support. And then really the legal authorities and the whole system kind of guides it from here on out.”