NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Gareon Conley, who is accused of sexual assault, will not face discipline from the league. The reason being is that the alleged incident occurred before the NFL draft, which lasted from April 27-29.
Two days before the draft began, reports surfaced that Conley, who was selected by the Oakland Raiders with 24th overall pick in this year’s draft, sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman at a hotel in downtown Cleveland on April 9. The former Ohio State cornerback vehemently denied such reports by issuing a statement on April 26, one day before the draft.
Conley then told Cleveland police on Monday he had a consensual sexual encounter with the woman who accused him of raping her, but denied assaulting her. He also gave a statement to police and provided a DNA sample. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office will review the case and it could be 6-8 weeks before a decision is made on whether or not it will pursue charges.
Conley took a polygraph test at the request of the Baltimore Ravens prior to the draft. Conley's attorney, Kevin Spellacy, said he passed the lie-detector test.
Spellacy disputed some of the details in the police report as well. Spellacy said Conley met the alleged victim at a bar and footage from a security camera shows the two holding hands while walking on the street near the hotel. The report stated that the two met in the elevator of the hotel, not at a bar.
While Conley will not face discipline from the league for this purported incident, the woman’s allegations could resurface if Conley is ever involved in another incident after his NFL career begins, according to language in the NFL's personal conduct policy. The policy states that “conduct occurring prior to the players' association with the NFL" will be taken into account when determining discipline. In the case of repeat offenders, the policy also provides for "enhanced and/or expedited discipline, including banishment from the league with the opportunity to reapply."
As of Tuesday afternoon, Conley had not been arrested and no warrant had been issued. Police are continuing to investigate.
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