UNC linebacker Allen Artis says he's not a rapist ahead of court appearance

Graham Watson
A North Carolina helmet is shown during the Tar Heel's NCAA college football media day in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A North Carolina helmet is shown during the Tar Heel’s NCAA college football media day in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP)

Suspended North Carolina linebacker Allen Artis maintained his innocence Tuesday while meeting with the media ahead of his Thursday court appearance for charges of sexual battery and assault on a female student.

Artis is accused of raping Delaney Robinson on Valentine’s Day in the Ram Village apartments on UNC’s campus. Robinson held a press conference on Sept. 13 stating police had done little to help her after she reported the rape. She said she felt police gave preferential treatment to Artis because he was a football player. Shortly after her appearance, Artis was indefinitely suspended from the team and he turned himself into police.

Artis told the Associated Press he wasn’t a rapist and that he was “surprised, hurt, distraught” over the allegations.

“Everything was completely consensual that happened that night,” Artis told the media. “That’s the truth.”

Artis’ lawyer, Kerry Sutton, said Artis had passed a polygraph when asked about the incident.

The arrest warrant stated Artis had sex with a female UNC student against her will when he ”should have reasonably known that the other person was mentally incapacitated and physically helpless.” Robinson said during her press conference that she had been drinking.

Artis said he did not see Robinson drinking and that she was conscious during consensual sex.

Denise Branch, an attorney representing Robinson, issued a statement confirming her client’s account that the sex was not consensual.

“On February 14, 2016, my client Delaney Robinson was raped and assaulted by Allen Artis,” Branch said in an email to the AP. ”On September 13, 2016, she presented admissible evidence in support of her case to a magistrate. As a result, two misdemeanor warrants were issued for the arrest of Allen Artis. Any purported, and inherently unreliable polygraph test does not alter the fact that my client never consented to have sex with Allen Artis.”

Robinson held a press conference six months after the incident because she was dismayed nothing had been done. She also issued a statement detailing her actions following the rape.

“I did everything a rape victim is supposed to do. I reported it. I allowed the rape kit to be taken. I gave a statement. I cooperated with law enforcement and the Title IX office. But six months later the University has done nothing,” she continued. “I’m taking this public stand not for me, but for the other students on campus who are not protected, despite what the University tells us. I love this University. It’s my home. I plan on graduating. But I expect the University to fulfill its promises to me and to all students.”

At the time, Orange Country District Attorney Jim Woodall told ABC11.com the case was “investigated thoroughly.” However, he told the AP on Tuesday the investigation was ongoing.

Robinson’s father, in a statement, blamed the Title IX office and public safety department investigators for the delay in the investigation.

“We have watched with dismay as the UNC Department of Public Safety and the Title IX office spent far more time investigating my daughter rather than her rapist,” he said. “DPS even went so far as to reassure my daughter’s rapist by telling that there was nothing to worry about, and one investigator participated in an event where he was socializing with the football team.

“Nowhere in this entire process have DPS investigators, University leadership or the orange County District Attorney’s Office expressed concern for my daughter’s well-being.”

Artis has played in 27 career games with the Tar Heels, mostly on special teams. He is on pace to graduate in May with a double-major in economics and management and society.

For more North Carolina news, visit TarHeelIllustrated.com.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!