Allen Artis was "crucified" in the media for no reason, his lawyer says
Fellow student Delaney Robinson has accused him of raping her
A football player at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill strongly denied two misdemeanor sexual battery and assault charges against him, saying an encounter with his accuser was consensual.
Allen Artis is accused of raping fellow student Delaney Robinson at an on-campus apartment on February 14. He also faces civil charges filed by his accuser.
“I did not rape her. I did not rape her. I did not rape her. I did not rape her. I did not rape her,” Artis told reporters Thursday after the first court hearing in the case.
His lawyers said Artis was “crucified” in the media for no reason.
“Everything that night had full consent of both parties and we are anxious to show that to the people who will be making decisions in this case, whether we go to trial here in this courthouse or a hearing at UNC,” said Artis’ attorney, Kerry Sutton.
Artis and Robinson came face-to-face in the courtroom Thursday as they sat in the front row on opposite sides, according to CNN affiliate WTVD. She did not speak to reporters.
The next hearing is set for December 5.
’Life has changed forever’
The accuser, sophomore Delaney Robinson, told the media Tuesday she was angry over how authorities and the university have handled the case.
“My life has changed forever, while the person who assaulted me remains as a student and a football player on this campus,” said Robinson, now 19.
Artis was charged Tuesday with sexual battery and assault on a female, both misdemeanors. His arrest warrant states he is accused of lying on top of Robinson, pinning her down with his weight as he raped her. The warrant further accuses him of pulling Robinson’s bra strap, “causing an indentation on her shoulder/back.”
Artis was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. His next scheduled court date is September 29, though it’s unclear whether Artis will be required to show up or just his attorney.
Robinson said she was 18 at the time of the alleged February 14 assault at the Ram Village apartments on UNC’s campus.
“Yes, I was drinking that night on Valentine’s Day,” Robinson said Tuesday, with her father and lawyer by her side. “I’m underage, and I take responsibility for that, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to violate me. I did not deserve to be raped.”
Typically, CNN does not name alleged victims of sexual assault. In this case, Robinson came out out publicly.
Robinson said she went to a hospital after the incident and gave an account of what she could remember to the sexual-assault nurse. She was then questioned by the university’s Department of Public Safety investigators, who asked “demeaning and accusatory questions,” Robinson said.
“Did I lead him on? Have I hooked up with him before? Do I often have one-night stands? Did I even say no? What is my sexual history? How many men have I slept with? I was treated like a suspect,” she said.
Andrea Pino, co-author of “We Believe You, Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out,” said those questions reminded her of the ones asked of Brock Turner’s sexual assault victim. Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer, was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail – but only served three.
Robinson said her “humiliation turned to rage when I (later) listened to the recorded interviews of my rapist by DPS investigators.”
“Rather than accusing him of anything, the investigators spoke to him with a tone of camaraderie,” Robinson said. “They provided reassurances to him when he became upset. They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls’ phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night that he raped me. They told him, ‘Don’t sweat it, just keep on living your life and keep on playing football.’”
In North Carolina, anyone can go before a magistrate and swear to criminal acts that they claim happened against them. A magistrate then determines whether there is enough evidence to go forward. But charges that start that way can be only misdemeanors; felonies must be brought by the district attorney’s office.
Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said a felony investigation is still underway.
He told CNN on Wednesday that it’s unusual for a court to draw misdemeanor warrants while a felony investigation is under way. He said he can’t recall it happening during his 27 years working in the office. (He’s been the district attorney for more than a decade.)
Woodall said that he and his staff will have to have a conversation about “how we go forward and handle that.”
“These are very serious charges, and before we go forward we would like to have the investigation completed or close to being completed,” he said.
“There is no question that there was physical contact, but what the circumstances are surrounding the contact are what investigators are trying to determine.”
Cases such as Robinson’s are “difficult to prosecute and difficult to prove,” the district attorney said. While obtaining an arrest warrant requires only probable cause, convictions require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Woodall said his staff has worked to “refocus” investigators on achieving that standard of proof.
“UNC has been working with that standard in mind and consulting with us,” Woodall said.
Robinson’s lawyer, Denise Branch, said her client has fully cooperated with the investigation.
She provided a photo purportedly taken on the night of the alleged attack showing what Branch said was bruising on Robinson’s neck.
“We are pleased with the actions Mr. Woodall and his office have taken since Ms. Robinson had the courage to come forward. Ms. Robinson remains resolute in her pursuit of justice.”
The university’s response
UNC said it is aware of the allegations but cannot address them because of federal privacy law.
“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of our students and takes all allegations about sexual violence or sexual misconduct extremely seriously,” it said.
As for Artis’ athletic future, UNC athletes facing misdemeanor charges are suspended from their teams. They can be reinstated if approved by the school’s athletics director, the team’s coach and other university officials.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Lauren Leslie, Connor Spielmaker, Tony Marco, Chandrika Narayan, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Ashleigh Banfield contributed to this report.