Former Ohio State cornerback and potential first-round pick Gareon Conley's attorney strongly denied allegations that Conley raped a 23-year old woman in a Cleveland hotel room in early April. Conley's attorney, Kevin Spellacy, called the allegations "ludicrous and ridiculous" and stated, "In my opinion this young lady is an opportunist and it's actually despicable."
Rumors of a potential rape allegation against a "top NFL Draft prospect" began circulating early Tuesday on Cleveland19.com, but the prospect was not named and the report made it clear that the player had not been charged with a crime and strongly denied the allegations. TMZ Sports later obtained a police report that stated the player in question was Conley.
In the report, as TMZ noted:
... the accuser says she met Conley in a hotel elevator around 3 a.m. and brought her back to his hotel room. She claims Conley asked her to have a foursome with another friend of his and a woman. The accuser says she declined and offered to watch the other couple have sex in the hotel room bathroom instead.
A short time later, the woman says Conley unbuttoned her pants and began to have sex with her. She claims she said, "No, stop, it hurts!" but he kept going until he finished. She says Conley then kicked her out of the hotel room.
The woman called 911 and described her assailant as a "black male who wouldn't take his sunglasses off and had an Ohio State tattoo on his left forearm."
The woman says she went to a local hospital where a rape kit was administered.
Later in the police report, officers describe going to the hotel room where the accuser says she was raped and talking to two witnesses, both of whom are friends of Conley's. One of the witnesses said the woman was mad because she was kicked out of the hotel room, while the other stated that he was in the room the whole time and that Conley and the woman lied on a bed together but nothing happened. The report also stated that no evidence was found in the hotel room and it appeared to be in normal shape.
Conley has not been charged with any crime, and TMZ reports that results of the rape kit are not known. In the meantime, Conley and former Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore exchanged tweets on the subject Tuesday afternoon:
It is not known how these allegations will affect Conley's stock in the NFL Draft, and though the situations are not exactly analogous, it is reminiscent of the scenario involving Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La'el Collins leading up to the 2015 draft. Collins was considered a probable top-10 pick, but shortly before the draft, his pregnant ex-girlfriend was killed. Collins was never considered a suspect in the killing (which differentiates this from the Conley allegations) and the child was not his, but investigators wanted to speak with him and postponed his interview until after the draft.
Working under a time crunch and at an information deficit, every team in the league declined to draft Collins. He eventually signed with the Cowboys after it was understood that he was never considered a suspect.