A University of North Carolina student came forward Tuesday and accused a Tar Heels football player of sexual assault, a move she said was necessary after inaction by police, prosecutors and the university.
“My life has changed forever, while the person who assaulted me continues as a student and a football player on this campus,” UNC sophomore Delaney Robinson said in a news conference, also relayed in a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports.
"I see him every day on campus. ... It's distracting, hard to get my school work done," an emotional Robinson added in the news conference. "There won't be a cultural change without individuals stepping up. A university isn't going to feel the pressure to make a concrete change unless there are people pressing them to do so."
Robinson directs much of the blame on how her allegations were handled at UNC Department of Public Safety along with the school’s Title IX office.
“Rather than accusing him of anything, the investigators spoke to him with a tone of camaraderie,” Robinson said. “They provided reassurances to him when he became upset. They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls’ phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night he raped me. They told him, ‘Don’t sweat it, just keep on living your life and playing football.’ ”
Jim Woodall, the district attorney for Orange and Chatham counties, told USA TODAY Sports that the investigation remains active both in his office and at UNC. Requests from comment from university were not immediately returned.
“I have worked in the DA’s office for 26 years and have prosecuted many, many UNC students, including UNC athletes, for very serious crimes, including rape,” Woodall said in a phone interview. “From our perspective, it’s immaterial who the alleged person and it doesn’t factor into our decision.”
In the news conference, Robinson's lawyer, Denise W. Branch, said Woodall has said that charges will not be filed. And so she's seeking to self-serve warrants.
USA TODAY Sports does not usually name the alleged victims of sexual violence, but Robinson has made the allegations publicly and spoke at a news conference. The name of the football player is being withheld pending charges Robinson is pursuing as an individual citizen without the involvement of law enforcement or prosecutors.
Robinson said she was raped at Ram Village on the UNC campus on Feb. 14. Her attorney, Branch, said that despite her client’s “cooperation and strong physical evidence, no action has been taken against the student who raped her.”
“I did everything a rape victim is supposed to do,” Robinson said. “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."
Branch said in a prepared remarks ahead of a news conference that the alleged victim has self-sworn summons for misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor sexual battery against the football player.
North Carolina is one of a handful of states that allows citizens to pursue charges individually in such cases. A magistrate decides if there’s probable cause to issue an arrest warrant.
Woodall said he didn’t know what impact Branch’s self-sworn summons approach would have to the ongoing investigation.
“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,” Delaney Robinson’s father, Stacey, said in a statement. “What happened to my daughter is a crime and should be investigated by a professional and capable police force. UNC parents should know that their children are vulnerable and at risk. We are standing up today to demand better treatment from the University.”
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