TROY, Ala. (WIAT) — It was a full courtroom Wednesday morning in Troy, Alabama, and a staffer was laying down the law.
“If you’re not a defendant, you’ve got to give up your seat,” he told the crowd. A few folks got up and trickled out of the room, and a few more trickled in.
Jack Dawson, a punter for Jacksonville State University, pleaded not guilty to three charges of assault, according to Troy municipal court records. Dawson is accused of repeatedly assaulting John Haynes, who was Dawson’s teammate during the pair’s time playing football at Troy University.
The alleged assaults, which Haynes claims were part of a pattern of bullying by Dawson, occurred over a period of a few months in 2020 and culminated in the punter’s sodomization of his teammate with a pool cue inside Troy University’s field house, according to one of the criminal complaints against him.
Dawson turned himself into Troy law enforcement on three outstanding warrants for his arrest related to the misdemeanor assaults after a CBS 42 report outlined the allegations against the Australian national. The warrants against Dawson had gone unserved for months.
The earliest of the incidents for which Jack Dawson was charged allegedly occurred in October 2020. According to a handwritten account by Haynes, the incident took place inside Troy University’s Davis Fieldhouse. Haynes was watching a football game on his phone, “laying down minding [his] own business” when he began experiencing intense pain.
“Suddenly I felt something piercing and entering my anus/rectum area,” Haynes reported to police. “Jack Dawson deliberately shoved a pool stick up my anus/rectum. I had immediate intractable and excruciating pain. I immediately reached for the area and rolled on the floor writhing in severe pain. I was extremely upset and humiliated by what was done and the laughter in the area that occurred by the players who saw it. After checking my phone, humiliated and deeply embarrassed by what was done to me, I got up and went to the restroom in a ton of pain mentally and physically. I started crying on the way to the bathroom.”
On Haynes’ phone, he said, was a Snapchat notification. One of his teammates had video recorded the entire assault and sent it out to Troy football players, including Haynes himself.
“He filmed the entire incident from the couch,” Haynes wrote. “I then sat down on the toilet and cried – balling my eyes out because what happened.”
“Jack Stockdale Dawson did, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, cause physical injury to Haynes by ramming a pool cue into Mr. Haynes’ buttock as he was laying on the floor, causing bleeding, bruising, and cuts to the inside of his buttocks,” the City of Troy’s criminal complaint against Dawson states.
The second assault charge against Dawson stems from an incident in November 2020.
A handwritten account by Haynes said that he was at a residence on Norfolk Avenue in Troy when Jack Dawson and a second player picked him up and carried him outside, aiming to throw Haynes in the pool.
“One picked me up by my shoulders and the other had my legs,” Haynes wrote. “I frantically yelled and told them to get off of me and put me down. I continued to scream, wiggle, and tell them to stop.”
Soon, Haynes’ teammates dropped him on the pool deck, he said, resulting in an abrasion.
“Jack Stockdale Dawson did, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, cause physical injury to Peter Haynes by picking him up, carrying him outside, dropping him on the pool deck of 101 Norfolk Ave, causing a large bruise to his right side,” according to the city’s complaint against Dawson.
The final assault charge against Dawson relates to events that occurred in December 2020.
Haynes said one day in early December, he went to the home on Norfolk Avenue to help another player with his homework. Jack Dawson soon showed up and began immediately began targeting Haynes, he wrote.
“He grabbed a drink from me,” Haynes wrote. “He commonly did things like this to show his dominance over me. He knew I would not fight back.”
Haynes said Dawson then sat on top of him and would not get up, despite pleas from Haynes and another teammate.
After he was able to free himself, Haynes said Dawson attacked him.
“Jack then slapped me as hard as he could,” Haynes wrote. “I had immediate pain in my nose and face and started crying. Everyone else was laughing and kidding at me.”
Soon, Haynes said that Dawson contacted him, telling him to come back to the house for “a free slap.” Other players, too, urged Haynes to return to the home to settle things with Dawson.
“I went back to the house not realizing that it was a setup,” Haynes wrote. “[Dawson] hit me in the face with his fist a few times, causing even more pain.”
“Jack Stockdale Dawson did, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, cause physical injury to Haynes by slapping him in the face with his open hand, very hard, causing bruising to his nose,” according to the city’s complaint against Dawson.
The arrest warrants against Jack Dawson, which were issued in October 2021, went unserved by law enforcement until CBS 42’s initial reporting on the allegations against the former Troy player.
Raymond Johnson Jr., a Birmingham-based criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said that it’s unusual that a warrant in such a case wasn’t served fairly quickly, even when the person being sought by law enforcement had moved out of the area. That’s even more true in a case like this where the defendant’s whereabouts are covered in the media, as Dawson’s had been, Johnson said.
“I don’t understand why it would take them so long to serve the warrant,” Johnson explained. “They know where he is. They know how to get him if they wish to do so. It’s just a matter of picking up the phone and asking someone to go out and make the arrest.”
In addition to the criminal complaints, Haynes has filed a federal lawsuit against Dawson, Troy University and three of Haynes’ former coaches related to the allegations of harassment and abuse.
Troy University has denied all allegations outlined in the federal complaint and said it will “vigorously defend itself in court.” The coaches named in the suit – Brian Blackmon, Jamaal Smith, and Dayne Brown – have also denied Haynes’ claims in the case. Dawson responded to Haynes’ lawsuit by claiming that he — not Haynes — is a victim.
A lawyer for Dawson confirmed Wednesday morning that her client made a court appearance in Troy through counsel but did not have further comment on the case.
Court records show a trial on the assault charges is set for January 2023.
Dawson is listed as a current player on Jacksonville State University’s football roster as of this article’s publication. He last played for the college in Saturday’s game against Kennesaw State.