Lawyers: Woman was 'aggressor'

ByJeff Barlis ESPN logo
Thursday, October 9, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Attorneys for Treon Harris on Thursday said the woman accusing the suspended Florida quarterback of sexual assault was "the sexual aggressor with not one, but two young men last Sunday morning."

Harris, 19, was suspended by the University of Florida and the University Athletic Association on Monday when university police began an investigation into an accusation that Harris sexually assaulted a female student at an on-campus residence hall early Sunday morning.

He has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

Harris' Gainesville attorneys, Johnson & Osteryoung, are trying to dispel reports about Harris' relationship with the woman and provide a clear picture of what happened.

"We know that an individual has given testimony to law enforcement that he had sexual relations with the alleged victim less than an hour before the alleged sexual conduct with our client took place," Harris' attorneys said in a statement. "In fact, testimony indicates that the young lady in question was the sexual aggressor in that interaction."

Harris' attorneys said they have provided multiple text messages and eyewitness accounts to the investigation. They said that information paints a picture of the accuser initiating interactions with Harris -- while he was in Tennessee and again after the team plane landed in Gainesville -- and another male student Saturday night and Sunday morning.

According to the attorneys, multiple witnesses saw Harris and the woman "smiling" and "holding hands" prior to returning to the Springs Residential Complex in a car driven by another female student "who was a friend of the alleged victim."

The attorneys said Harris and the woman knew each other and had spent time together prior to the alleged incident. They also said Harris gave permission for evidence to be gathered from his dorm room, which is where "interaction between the two parties" took place.

University police spokesman Maj. Brad Barber offered no updates on the progress of the ongoing investigation Thursday afternoon.

"An investigation of this nature is going to take time," Barber said. "It's going to be thorough, and it's going to be complete before whatever actions are taken."

The university on Wednesday released an initial incident report, which was heavily redacted. It indicates Harris is the suspect in a sexual assault investigation in which an incident occurred at Harris' dorm between 2:30 a.m. and 3:25 a.m. on Sunday morning. The incident was reported at 12:49 a.m. on Monday morning, and police arrived at 12:56 a.m., staying for more than four hours.

Harris, a true freshman, came off the bench and rallied the Gators to a 10-9 victory at Tennessee.He has been placed on an "interim suspension," which bans him from campus and all team activities. He is allowed to take online courses.

University of Florida spokeswoman Janine Sikes earlier this week outlined steps for a student code of conduct review, which is required under a Department of Education Title IX federal statute. Even if Harris faces no criminal charges, he could still face student code of conduct sanctions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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