A suspended UNC football player who was accused of sexual assault has been notified by the university that its own investigation found no violation, according to the player’s attorney.
Kerry Sutton, the attorney who represents Allen Artis, issued a short statement Thursday, saying that “after a ‘thorough investigation,’ UNC found that Mr. Artis did not violate any UNC Policy as claimed by Delaney Robinson on February 14, 2016.”
Last year, Robinson, then a sophomore from Apex, swore out warrants against Artis for sexual battery and assault on a female, two misdemeanor charges. In a news conference, she said she had been raped at an on-campus apartment on Valentine’s Day and that she was intoxicated at the time.
Artis has consistently denied the allegation, saying what happened at the apartment was “completely consensual.”
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UNC-Chapel Hill’s vice chancellor of communications, Joel Curran, said Thursday that the university could not comment on a specific case.
“While attorneys may make public claims on behalf of their clients and their clients may speak on their own behalf, we are obligated to follow a process that protects our students’ privacy rights,” Curran said in a statement.
Denise Branch, attorney for Robinson, issued a statement confirming that the UNC office that oversees discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct had failed to find that Artis had violated the university’s policy.
“Ms. Robinson is shocked and dismayed by the failure of UNC Title IX office to hold Mr. Artis accountable for his actions,” Branch’s statement said. “She has appealed this initial finding which is subject to further administrative review.”
Last year, Robinson said that after she reported an assault, she was treated like a suspect, while UNC investigators spoke to Artis “in a tone of camaraderie,” telling him to keep playing football and not to “sweat it.” Her attorney, Branch, alleged that UNC police had grossly mishandled the investigation.
The News & Observer’s policy is not to identify people who report they were sexually assaulted, but has done so in this case because Robinson publicly identified herself.
Curran’s statement explained that the university follows a 2014 policy based on federal standards and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. “We conduct factual investigations in a fair and thorough manner, recognizing there are many variables that affect each investigation and the length of time it takes to complete them,” he said.
Factors can include the number of witnesses and attorneys involved, scheduling, requests from outside agencies and law enforcement, he said.
“We also are obligated to exercise our considered judgment in each case, regardless of circumstances or public sentiment, as we follow the University process to a final outcome,” Curran’s statement added. “Through our experience, we know that the investigation process can be painful and difficult for many participants, who may disagree with the outcome. Our goal in every case is to proceed in a manner that is respectful of the difficulties the people involved face while fulfilling the University’s obligations under federal law.”
A trial has not been scheduled for the misdemeanor charges.
Branch said Robinson “remains confident that justice will be served.”
Artis “maintains his innocence,” Sutton said, and a more detailed statement will be made at a later date. A UNC athletic department spokesman said Artis remains suspended indefinitely from the football team.