A player who is expected to go in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft has been accused of sexual assault, according to Cleveland 19 News. But this is a weird one: The station is not naming the player, despite having a statement from his attorney, because the cops are dragging their feet on filing a police report.
Update: The player is Ohio State CB Gareon Conley. See below for the police report.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, April 9, police responded to the Westin Hotel in downtown Cleveland and what scanner traffic described as a 23-year-old woman who was the “victim of a sexual assault.” The woman accused a former college football player and top draft prospect. And beyond that, there are no details, because there is, quite unusually, no police report.
Here’s WOIO-TV’s Carl Monday, in a separate story on the status of the police report:
CBS Cleveland 19 has asked for the Cleveland police report multiple times, and has been given no response as to why an initial or completed report isn’t available nearly two weeks later. Our team was first told to contact Cleveland Sex Crimes, then was referred to Chief Calvin Williams. In compliance with Cleveland public record retention policy, our investigative team formally filed several record requests. Cleveland Public Records told Cleveland 19 in a response to our request for the incident report that they were waiting for the report from police.
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As Monday notes, a police report on an entirely unrelated sexual assault from that same day is already available, and this is a uniquely long time for police not to have filed something.
According to the player’s attorney, who told WOIO that the accusations are false, the player will return to Cleveland after the draft to be interviewed by police. But in general, police don’t wait to talk to a suspect before filing an initial police report.
There’s a lot of innuendo in Monday’s report, implying, probably not without merit, that there’d be no delay on the police report if the suspect weren’t a few days away from getting taken in the NFL Draft. Changes in draft position can mean swings of millions of dollars, and a criminal investigation could mean a huge drop on draft boards. And there’s no going back on draft slot money after this weekend, no matter how the investigation proceeds. (Ask La’El Collins.) But it’s hard to view this as anything other than a suspect receiving different treatment from police because he’s about to become a professional athlete. I gather that WOIO is running this story, odd as it is, in a public effort to pressure Cleveland PD into filing the police report. I also presume that putting this out there makes it a matter of time before the player’s name is reported somewhere.
Update, 1:16 p.m.: TMZ has obtained the police report. The report names Ohio State’s Gareon Conley as the suspect.
Update, 5:02 p.m.: Below is the police report obtained by Deadspin, redacted to remove the accuser’s name and all addresses.
The woman told police she met Conley and his friends in a hotel elevator and he asked her to have a foursome with his friend and another girl. The woman declined, but told police that Conley forcibly unbuttoned her pants and pulled them down, and had sex with her as she told him, “no stop, it hurts!” When he was done, the woman said, Conley kicked her out of the hotel room. The woman went to the hospital and had a rape kit taken.
Police interviewed two of Conley’s friends who slept over in the room. Both told police that Conley did not have sex with the woman, and that she was mad she had been kicked out of the room. Conley still has not been interviewed by police.