New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown is accused of rape by a woman who says she was his personal trainer, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.
Brown denied the allegations through a statement issued by his lawyer.
According to the reports, the woman alleges Brown, a resident of South Florida, sexually assaulted her three times — twice in June 2017 and once in May 2018. The accuser and Brown reportedly met while they were both student-athletes at Central Michigan, the accuser a gymnast and a participant with Brown in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group, according to TMZ Sports.
The first alleged incident occurred during a training session in which “Brown exposed himself and kissed (the accuser) without her consent,” according to language in the lawsuit. In the second alleged incident that month, Brown is accused of masturbating near the accuser and ejaculating on her back.
According to the New York Times, profane text messages sent from Brown to the accuser referring to such sex acts were attached to the lawsuit. The Athletic’s Nick Underhill tweeted what appeared to be screen grabs of the texts (though Underhill referred to them as “emails”). In them, Brown seemed to imply any sexual encounters were consensual.
The accuser stated in the suit she ended her working relationship with Brown from there, but that when he reached out to her apologize — TMZ reported the suit stating Brown “begged forgiveness” — she reluctantly agreed to train him again.
But, according to the suit, the accuser said that on May 20, 2018, Brown pushed her onto a bed face first, then “forcibly” raped her. Though she shouted “no” and “stop,” the accuser stated that Brown refused and raped her, the Times reported.
“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” the accuser said in a statement released by her lawyer, per the Times. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”
Later Tuesday night, Brown’s attorney, Darren Heitner, released a statement that read in part, “Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit. He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.”
The statement adds that the accuser asked Brown to invest $1.6 million in a business idea, and then accused the woman of planning to use some of that money to commit fraud. Heitner stated that Brown refused to invest the money, but that the accuser approached Brown in 2018 and offered to train him for the upcoming season.
“Thereafter, the accuser engaged Mr. Brown in a consensual personal relationship,” Heitner’s statement read. “Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”
It is unknown whether the accuser reported any of her accusations to police, though the Times reported that the accuser said in a statement she would cooperate with any NFL investigation.
The suit is the latest development in a tumultuous and dizzying year for Brown, who came to an agreement on a one-year deal with the Patriots on Saturday, just hours after the Oakland Raiders released him.
Among the highlights of Brown’s brief stay in Oakland were a frostbite-type injury sustained to his feet during cryotherapy, a dispute with the NFL regarding his helmet that led to grievances and camp walkouts, reportedly directing a racial slur and physical threat at general manager Mike Mayock during an argument, and recording a phone conversation with Jon Gruden and then posting it to YouTube.
The Raiders acquired Brown in a March trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brown was not allowed to be with the Patriots for the season opener against the Steelers on Sunday night because of the timing of his release, but he reportedly will practice with the team Wednesday and could play this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Neither the Patriots nor Raiders could be reached for comment when the Times reached out.
–Field Level Media