Florida quarterback Treon Harris has been suspended pending an investigation into rape allegations that have been made against him.
Treon Harris is the freshman quarterback for the University of Florida’s Gators. The Florida QB is accused of sexually assaulting a female student late Saturday night or early Sunday morning on the University of Florida campus. According to the Sun Sentinel, campus police responded to a sexual battery call at 12:49 a.m. Sunday morning and an investigation targeting the Treon Harris began.
On Monday, the head coach for the Gators canceled their normal Monday press conference, and the team was informed that they would be continuing on without the Florida quarterback. It was confirmed that Treon Harris is being investigated for rape, and later, University of Florida President Bernie Machen released an official statement.
“We have no tolerance for sexual assault on our campus. The university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for every member of the UF community. We must strive to protect all of our students from sexual harassment and assault, and do everything in our power to promote a safe learning environment.”
The Gainsville Police Department was called in by the University’s request to handle the forensic evidence in the rape investigation against Harris. They will be responsible for collecting the evidence and processing the lab work in the Treon Harris rape investigation. However, it will be left up to the University of Florida’s own police department to decide whether or not they will bring rape charges against the Florida quarterback.
At this point in time, he has not yet been charged, and the Florida quarterback has quickly obtained a lawyer. Attorney Huntley Johnson will be representing Treon Harris, and while Johnson may be the Gator’s go to guy for the players legal troubles, he may not have been the best PR choice given that Johnson himself lost a million dollar lawsuit when his secretary sued him for sexual harassment in 2000.
Rape and other sexual assaults have increasingly become a problem in the United States, a country where a woman is sexually assaulted every two minutes. With 80 percent of rape victims under the age of 30, this has become a major problem for many college-aged women. In a report issued by the National Institute of Justice, an average college with roughly 10,000 students enrolled could receive as many as 350 rapes reported every year, and at least 60 percent of all sexual assaults are never reported.
Efforts to raise awareness on college campuses and outrage at the failure to address these violent crimes is putting pressure on Universities like the University of Florida to take such charges much more seriously and to do more to help the women who attend their schools.
Authorities at the University of Florida may be taking these rape allegations against the Florida quarterback seriously as they should or they could just be trying to make good PR out of the situation. Either way, women’s rights activists will be watching the investigation against Treon Harris closely to see how this plays out for the Florida quarterback and the alleged victim.
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