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Evidence removed in UT probe

Key evidence was removed from a University of Tennessee athletic dormitory room before Knoxville police arrived to investigate a woman's alleged sexual assault, police said. Campus police took more than six hours before deciding the Oct. 12 incident _ which resulted in the suspension and later reinstatement of Kacy Rodgers, Dewayne Dotson and Keith Jeter _ should be investigated by city police, according to police records obtained by the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

University officials have called the alleged incident a sexual assault. But the 18-year-old woman, a freshman, told an emergency dispatcher in a recorded call, "I'd like to report a rape."

University police chief Ed Yovella made an initial request for aid by the Knoxville police criminalistics unit, canceled it, then called a third time.

When investigators arrived more than 6{ hours after the incident was reported, key evidence such as a bed sheet and towel had been removed from the room, the police report said.

Police technician L.K. Muncy's report said Yovella called at 7:15 a.m. and asked for assistance, called 25 minutes later and said he would not need help because the victim had decided against prosecuting, and called a third time _ at 9:40 a.m. _ and said it had been decided the case should be fully investigated.