- Screenshot via ABC 11
Allen Artis, a linebacker on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s football team, has turned himself in to police on misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and assault on a female, CNN reported Wednesday.
Artis has also been suspended from the football team in accordance with university policy.
Delaney Robinson, 19, a sophomore at UNC, says Artis, 21, raped her on Valentine’s Day. In a press conference Tuesday, Robinson said she came forward after seven months because of what she described as misconduct and a lack of action on the school’s part.
Robinson said she was raped at an apartment complex at UNC called Ram Village in February, when she was an 18-year-old freshman.
During the press conference, Robinson’s attorney, Denise Branch, said the Orange County district attorney’s office had sent an email saying District Attorney James Woodall would not pursue criminal charges against Artis.
“For more than six months we have asked the university and the Orange County district attorney’s office to hold Delaney’s rapist accountable for his actions. At every turn we have been met with discouragement and delay,” Branch said in a statement.
“No victim services have been offered to Delaney, either from Jim Woodall’s office or from the Department of Public Safety,” Branch said at the press conference.
Woodall, however, told USA Today the investigation remained active at his office and at UNC.
“I have worked in the DA’s office for 26 years and have prosecuted many, many UNC students, including UNC athletes, for very serious crimes, including rape,” Woodall said. “From our perspective, it’s immaterial who the alleged person [is] and it doesn’t factor into our decision.”
Branch says Robinson fully cooperated with the university and the police by providing them with names of witnesses, photographs, and a detailed timeline of the evening leading up to the time she said she was raped. Robinson also said she went through invasive physical exams.
Branch said inaction from law enforcement and the university caused her client to take an “extraordinary step” of meeting with a magistrate and requesting self-sworn warrants – warrants that citizens can request – for the arrest of Artis.
A judge issued the warrants on charges of misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor sexual battery, and the sheriff’s office currently holds them, Branch said during the press conference.
The warrants say Artis had sex with Robinson while she was “mentally incapacitated and physically helpless,” according to USA Today.
Robinson, who said she decided to forgo the usual anonymity offered to apparent victims of sexual assault, also criticized the university, especially for its treatment of her when she reported being assaulted.
“I did not realize that rather than receiving concern and support from the university, I would only be further victimized by the people who should be working to keep us safe,” she said in a statement. “Yes, I was drinking that night … 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.”
She said investigators treated her like a suspect and asked her “humiliating” and “accusatory” questions: “What was I wearing? What was I drinking? How much did I drink? … Did I lead him on? Do I often have one-night stands? How many men have I slept with?”
Branch said the district attorney’s office also told her that “unconsciousness is rape – black-out drunk is not rape.”
Branch said she was told the office could not bring a charge against the suspect unless Robinson had been unconscious at the time, The News & Observer reported.
- Grant Halverson/Stringer/Getty
Robinson and her lawyer say the university also acted in violation of its own Title IX guidelines when it requested a report containing the victim’s blood-alcohol content. The school’s revised Title IX policy is one of affirmative consent, not the absence of consent.
According to the university’s policy, affirmative consent implies that “consent is the communication of an affirmative, conscious, and freely made decision by each participant to engage in sexual activity.” Conversely, “silence, passivity, or a lack of resistance” implies an absence of consent.
“You have to have active consent – therefore, the alcohol consumption of the reporting party would be irrelevant,” Branch said during the press conference. “The appropriate punishment for drinking is a citation … It is not rape.”
Robinson said listening to recorded interviews that the university’s Department of Public Safety conducted with Artis further incensed her. In direct contrast to the way she had been treated, she said in her statement, investigators talked to Artis with a “tone of camradery [sic].”
“They provided reassurances to him when he became upset,” she said. “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.”
At the press conference, Robinson’s father, Stacey Robinson, expressed anger and frustration with the way his daughter’s case had been handled.
“Nowhere in this entire process have DPS investigators, university leadership, or the Orange County district attorney’s office expressed concern for my daughter’s well-being,” Stacey said. “We are standing up today to demand better treatment from the university.”
In a statement, UNC said federal privacy laws prevented the school from responding to allegations against a student. It also said:
“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 … These matters are complex and often involve multiple agencies including law enforcement. While the university always tries to complete an investigation as quickly as possible, our priority is to ensure that the factual investigations are complete and conducted in a fair and thorough manner.”
UNC football’s head coach, Larry Fedora, echoed the university’s statement about student privacy.
“We are aware of the misdemeanor charges against Allen Artis,” he said in an email to Business Insider. “I cannot comment on either the allegation or the investigative process. We take these matters very seriously and are fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities.”
Neither the Orange County district attorney nor the police department immediately responded to requests for comment by Business Insider.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on September 13 at 5:37 p.m. and was updated on September 14 at 11:15 a.m.