Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, who has denied a rape allegation made against him, will reportedly not attend the NFL draft on Thursday.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Tuesday afternoon that Conley has decided to not go to Philadelphia for the draft. He was one of 22 prospects invited. Conley was considered a likely first-round pick, but it’s unclear how the accusation could affect his draft status with teams.
TMZ, citing a police report, said Conley was accused of rape and he has strongly denied the accusation. No charges have been filed. Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, posting on the CBS Cleveland website, confirmed that Conley was named in a police report. Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia, public information officer for the Cleveland division of police, told Ruiter that no warrant has been issued, no charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing.
According to the story from TMZ, which said it obtained a police report filed in Cleveland, Conley and a woman were in his hotel room on April 9. After going back to Conley’s room, he asked her to engage in group sex with another couple. A short time after she declined, the woman said Conley unbuttoned her pants and began to have sex with her. The TMZ story said Conley did not stop, according to the accuser.
Cleveland 19 did not name the player accused of sexual assault, but the player’s attorney Kevin Spellacy denied any wrongdoing, saying the accusation is “ludicrous and ridiculous.”
“In my opinion this young lady is an opportunist and it’s actually despicable,” Spellacy said, according to Cleveland 19.
Spellacy also talked to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which didn’t name Conley but also shared details of the police report.
“There was no sexual assault,” Spellacy said. “We’ve cooperated fully with the police. I actually reached out to them before they even asked us.”
The woman called 911, but she refused to do an interview with police at the hospital. She got a rape kit at the hospital. Two of Conley’s friends said Conley and the woman never had sex, the TMZ story said.
Cleveland 19 said the lawyer offered to bring his client in for questioning, but not until after the NFL draft.
Conley is considered to be one of the top cornerbacks in the draft this season, a possible top-10 pick. The story in some ways recalls last-minute concerns about LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins, who did not attend the draft after he was interviewed by authorities in a murder investigation, a story that broke just before the draft. Collins, who was never charged, fell completely out of the draft. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys.
The MMQB’s Albert Breer said NFL teams are already trying to gather more information.
Gareon Conley's name was filtering to teams this morning, and those teams are trying to fact-find on this case quickly.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 25, 2017
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