UNC Football Player Allen Artis Says Rape Accusation Is 'False'
A football player at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill accused of sexually assaulting a female student is defending himself, claiming their one-time encounter was consensual.
"I need my little brother to see me stand up for myself here," Allen Artis, a 21-year-old junior linebacker, said in his first public comments released Tuesday. "I want him to know that a false accusation will never intimidate me."
Artis faces civil charges filed against him by his accuser, 19-year-old Delaney Robinson, who said during a news conference two weeks ago that the assault occurred at an on-campus apartment on Feb. 14 while drinking with friends. She said she did not know her alleged attacker.
NBC News does not normally identify survivors of alleged sexual assault but is doing so in this case because Robinson chose to come forward.
Prosecutors are still reviewing the case and have not decided whether to press criminal charges against Artis.
Robinson accuses investigators of dragging their feet and said she "did everything a rape victim is supposed to do" by reporting what she believed happened.
UNC-Chapel Hill has said it cannot comment on Robinson's allegations under federal privacy law.
Artis, meanwhile, has been suspended from the Tar Heels football team per university policy.
His attorney, Kerstin Walker Sutton, said in a statement that Artis continues to get emotional support from the team. She told NBC affiliate WCNC that he took a polygraph test and the results came back "no deception."
"I'm not saying she's lying," Sutton said of Robinson. "I'm saying we have facts that support that what happened that night was completely consensual. In every one of these cases we work on, both sides completely believe what it is that they believe."
Robinson's attorney, Denise Branch, said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday that her client was adamant that she was raped.
"Any purported, and inherently unreliable polygraph test does not alter the fact that my client never consented to have sex with Allen Artis," Branch said.