Rape allegations against one of college football's top prospects have surfaced just hours before the NFL Draft is set to begin.
Gareon Conley, a former Ohio State University cornerback, is accused of raping a woman at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month. Conley released a statement Wednesday, calling the allegations "completely false."
Read Conley's entire statement below:
The allegations against me concerning the night of April 8/9 that have recently been reported in multiple media outlets are completely false. I did not commit a crime and have not been charged with a crime.
I pride myself on doing things the right way on and off the field. The things being said about me and what happened that night are not true and don't fit my character at all. I realize that I put myself in the situation and I could have used better judgment. However, I have worked tirelessly to put myself in position to have the honor of being an NFL draft pick and these untrue allegations are putting a huge cloud over my name and the NFL Draft.
These allegations appear to be an attempt to ruin this once in a lifetime experience for me and my family. There were several witnesses, including another female, who were present the entire time and have given statements that give an accurate account of what took place. We also have video evidence that further discredit and disprove other versions of these events. I am upset but realize that I am powerless when false accusations are made and people try to convict you in the court of public opinion. It's sad that your name can get dragged through the mud based upon untrue and malicious allegations alone.
I am completely confident that as the facts actually come out my name will be cleared.
I was excited about participating in Thursday's draft but I have decided that it would be selfish for me to stay and be a distraction to the NFL. the other players, and their families who have worked just as hard as me to enjoy the experience so I will not be in attendance.
I hope and look forward to the honor of being an NFL player and working to be the best representative, player, person, and teammate that I can be for the team and the community I will be in.
The projected first-round pick isaccused of raping a woman at the Westin Hotel on St. Clair Avenue on April 9.
Police gathered information from Conley’s accuser — a 23-year-old woman — at the hotel early that morning. After talking to officers, she was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center, where a rape kit was administered.
Cleveland police have not filed charges against Conley in connection to the case.
A Cleveland police spokesperson says they are continuing to investigate but have not formally interviewed Conley. Police said Conley does not live in Cleveland but they are trying to track him down for an official statement.