Screengrab, NBC Bay Area

The father of a California high school football player arrested on suspicion of sexual assault has tried to defend his son by saying that everything was consensual, as the girl “basically chased my son down.”

His son, a student at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., was arrested this Thursday for allegedly assaulting a teenage girl after a playoff football game on Nov. 18. De La Salle is a private, boys-only Catholic school; the girl is a student at a private, girls-only Catholic school nearby.

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Yesterday, the football player’s father told the East Bay Times that the incident was consensual:

“He’s tall, dark and handsome, he plays for De La Salle, there’s a lot of girls that want to be with my son. When young, fast girls see something they like, they go after it.... She’s the one that basically chased my son down. They were just two teenagers having sex; they were just doing it at the wrong place, at the wrong time.“

He also said that he didn’t want to see his son “be a victim”—noting that his son is hurt, and “he feels like he lost everything.” The Times noted that the father is himself a registered sex offender for a child molestation conviction.

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The girl, meanwhile, told local news that she is not bothered by rumors and does not deserved to be shamed:

“I was there, and I know what actually happened, so I don’t let it get to me.... It’s not OK for this to happen to anyone, and it’s not OK for people, like society, to feel like the person that’s been hurt, that they’ve done something wrong to feel ashamed about the situation.”

She reported the incident to her principal on Nov. 21, and he then reported it to local police, leading to the arrest made this week. The football player was released from custody yesterday and has not yet been charged while Concord Police Department continues the investigation.

The girl’s father has also spoken out, with statements that are starkly different from those given by the father of the accused football player. “This is an irreversible mistake.... I had to sit back and wait while the kid was still going to school across the street from my daughter after he raped her,” he told the local ABC affiliate.

De La Salle’s football team was nationally recognized for their 151-game winning streak in the ‘90s and early 2000s and has won multiple state titles since. The team’s success was the subject of the 2014 movie When The Game Stands Tall.

[East Bay Times]