As civil suit looms over Brown, Pats fans not taking firm stance
As the Patriots’ newest star receiver, Antonio Brown, hit the practice field for the first time at Gillette on Wednesday, the team was fending off questions from reporters after allegations surfaced that the 31-year-old raped his former trainer on three occasions.
The civil lawsuit filed in Federal Court Monday said that Brown worked with the woman, who identified herself as Britney Taylor, a former LSU gymnast who was working professionally with Brown as his trainer beginning in 2017.
According to the suit, Taylor said that Brown ‘exploited’ and ‘sexually assaulted’ her after she claimed he used “manipulation and false promises to lure her into his world.”
The suit claims that Brown sexually assaulted Taylor twice in 2017, and once in May 2018.
Brown’s legal team said that the star wide receiver, who just signed with the team after a tumultuous pre-season stint with Raiders, denies all the allegations against him.
The Patriots released a statement after the allegations surfaced.
“We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment,” the statement read.
On Wednesday Head Coach Bill Belichick was asked about the allegations, but he did not expand on the team’s statement. Tom Brady had no comment.
Fans said they are waiting to pass judgment on the newest addition to the defending Super Bowl champions until all the details come out, and the civil case plays out in court.
“Disappointing. I got to say innocent until proven guilty but no smoke without fire so wait and see what happens,” said Adrian Chapman, a Raiders fan spending the day at Patriots Place.
“Just got to wait and see what happens. Who you believe at this point. It’s very very difficult,” added Patriots fan Richard Harries. “If [the Patriots] are happy for that player to represent this team, then that’s their decision. They’re the boss.”
Fans seem pretty reserved because there are no criminal charges pending in the case, and Brown’s accuser did not go to the police.
But according to Peg Langhammer, Executive Director of the victim advocacy group Day One, filing civil suits is not uncommon when it comes to rape allegations.
“It’s the most difficult crime to prove. It’s the most difficult kind of case to bring forward. What we know is that in over 63 percent of cases there are no charges ever brought to the police,” Langhammer said.
Langhammer said when it comes to civil suits, the burden of proof is far less than that of a criminal case.
“There may not be enough evidence in a criminal case,” Langhammer added.
Michael Yelnosky, dean of the law school at Roger Williams University, told ABC 6 that in a civil case it comes down to a term referred to as the ‘preponderance of evidence.’
Meanwhile, in criminal cases, prosecutors are required to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” before someone can be convicted.
Yelnosky said that burden is far less in a civil case, where a victim may be seeking justice of any kind.
Anyone who needs help concerning sexual or domestic violence can call Day One at 401-421-4100, or visit their website at dayoneri.org.