Patriots’ Brown faces rape accusations
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of rape by a former trainer.
Britney Taylor says Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida.
Brown has denied the allegations. Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown, told The Associated Press his client plans to countersue.
“He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations,” Heitner said in a statement.
Heitner said Brown and Taylor had “a consensual personal relationship”.
The New York Times first reported about the lawsuit.
The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, but Taylor was identified in the federal lawsuit and was quoted in a statement provided by her lawyer, David Haas.
“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Taylor said. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault. Speaking out removes the shame that I have felt for the past year and places it on the person responsible for my rape.”
Taylor also said in the statement that she will cooperate with the NFL and any other agencies.
A spokesman for the NFL declined to comment, but the Patriots said the league told the team it will launch an investigation.
“We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio’s representatives,” the Patriots said in a statement. “We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstance does this organisation condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.”
The 31-year-old Brown, a Miami native, was released by Oakland last week after clashing with the team throughout training camp. He agreed to a contract with New England on Saturday but has yet to play for the Patriots.
Brown and Taylor met through a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group at Central Michigan University, according to the lawsuit.
Taylor said Brown reached out to her via Facebook in June 2017 and asked the former gymnast for help with improving his strength and flexibility.
According to the lawsuit, Taylor was sexually assaulted by Brown on separate training trips to Pittsburgh and Florida that same month. The suit includes what it says are text messages from Brown bragging about the second assault.