AP NEWS

Oakland Raider Gareon Conley countersues woman who accused him of rape in downtown Cleveland

July 5, 2018

Oakland Raider Gareon Conley countersues woman who accused him of rape in downtown Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley countersued a 23-year-old woman who accused him of rape at a downtown Cleveland hotel.

The former Ohio State star and first-round NFL draft pick filed the counterclaim Sunday in response to the woman suing Conley over the April 8, 2017 encounter.

Conley in the countersuit said the woman’s accusations are false and that they cost him millions of dollars in endorsements, including one with Nike.

He also said the woman’s accusations caused NFL teams to pass on him in the 2017 draft, the court filing says. Conley, a former Massillon Washington High School standout, was eventually selected 24th overall by the Raiders.

One of the woman’s attorneys, Joseph Ritzler, said he disagreed with Conley’s claims.

“Our response is that we disagree with the claims being asserted by Mr. Conley and we look forward to the commencement of discovery in this case,” Ritzler said. He declined further comment.

The case is assigned to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Russo.

The counterclaim was filed in a response to an April 6 lawsuit the woman filed against Conley. The woman’s lawsuit accuses Conley of raping her at the Westin hotel in downtown Cleveland.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury voted not charge Conley after hearing a summary of the evidence from Cleveland police and Cuyahoga County prosecutors.

Conley says woman falsely reported rape

Conley’s counterclaim accuses the woman of maliciously lying to police about the incident because she was embarrassed that Conley refused to have sex with her or “to position herself to squeeze a pay-off from Conley, or both,” according to the suit filed by Columbus attorney John Camillus and Cleveland attorney Kevin Spellacy.

The counterclaim says Conley met the woman at the Barley House in downtown Cleveland. The woman initially did not know who he was, but she learned he was a former Ohio State football player and was going to be drafted by an NFL team, the lawsuit says.

They talked and later walked to the Westin hotel in downtown Cleveland, the lawsuit says.

Conley’s friend had sex with a girlfriend at the hotel, the lawsuit and police reports say. Conley’s lawsuit says the woman told Conley that she she wanted to watch them have sex.

Conley declined, but the woman went to watch and partially disrobed, the lawsuit says. Conley declined to have sex with the woman, and she “appeared” to become embarrassed until Conley asked her to leave, Conley’s lawsuit says.

The woman left the hotel room along with the girlfriend who had sex with Conley’s friend, Conley’s lawsuit says.

The woman complained to the girlfriend that Conley refused to have sex with her, and later expressed a desire to file a police report accusing Conley of rape, the counterclaim says.

The woman also told the girlfriend to file a similar report accusing Conley’s friend of rape, according to Conley’s counterclaim.

The woman did call police, but the girlfriend didn’t. The Cleveland police department investigated the woman’s report before the grand jury rejected criminal charges against Conley.

The police investigation set off a firestorm of media coverage, both locally and nationally. Conley’s attorneys said in court filings that the timing of the accusations – which they said were “devastating”— hurt Conley’s draft stock, costing him millions of dollars.

NFL teams did not have enough time to investigate the accusations on their own, Conley’s lawsuit says. The police investigation did not wrap up until after the draft.

“Most draft projections had him going much earlier,” Camillus said in a phone interview. ” He did lose contract with Nike based on allegations that we continue to maintain are false and we will prove that they are false.”

Woman’s lawsuit

The woman’s lawsuit names Conley and the Westin, a hotel booking company that specializes in finding hotel rooms for athletes, as defendants.

She said in her lawsuit that Conley approached her and her friends in the lobby of the Westin and that he told her she could get drinks from his hotel room to bring to her friend’s room.

Conley then raped the woman, and Conley’s friend initially refused to allow her to leave the room, the woman’s lawsuit says.

The incident caused the woman significant emotional and physical pain, her lawsuit says.

“Conley’s conduct was so extreme and outrageous that it went beyond all possible bounds of decency and can be considered completely intolerable in civilized community,” the woman’s lawsuit says. 

To comment on this story, visit Thursday’s crime and courts comments page.

AP RADIO
Update hourly