The female University of Florida student who reported Treon Harris for a rape has dropped the charges, after Harris’s attorney launched a smear campaign against the victim.
In an official statement, university spokeswoman Janine Sikes said that the victim in the Treon Harris rape case has “signed a complaint withdrawal affidavit.” This means that while she is declining to peruse the charges at this time, she will be within her rights to renew her complaint at a later time.
The move comes just days after Treon Harris’s attorney launched a vicious smear campaign against the victim. In a three page statement from Huntley Johnson, the attorney for Treon Harris, the sexual history of the victim came under attack, and Johnson focused more on smearing the reputation of the victim and less on the specific facts of the investigation.
In the statement, Treon Harris’s attorney said they had produced several witnesses who would claim that the interactions prior to the incident in question were amicable between Harris and the victim. What’s more, another man would swear that they had a sexual relationship prior to the alleged rape.
Johnson referred to the victim several times as a “sexual aggressor,” claiming that she “was in fact in the sexual aggressor with not one, but two young men early last Sunday morning.” Harris’s attorney also went on to imply in his statement that they had several texts, her social media information, and other personal communications that they were going to release to the public stating that “[w]hen these text messages are released, they will show that the young woman making these allegations initiated the conduct with Mr. Harris.” His full statement of what has been characterized as victim blaming has been heavily criticized by members of the media.
“An attorney for accused Florida player Treon Harris tore into the female student who alleges she was sexually assaulted, with details that won’t ever go away—even if they’re not true,” wrote Kelsey Meany.
Diana Moskovitz characterized Johnson’s statement this way.
“Translation: My client isn’t guilty but, more importantly, I hope everything I wrote leading up to this convinced you that she’s a slut who deserved it.”
Treon Harris was suspended from the University of Florida’s football team following announcement of the rape investigation; Harris was also given an interim suspension from the university, and was not allowed to attend any classes or events on campus. Although UF coach Will Muschamp said that he was standing by the school’s suspension of Treon Harris after learning of the rape investigation, they have since announced that Harris will be allowed to return as a student and has been reinstated on the team. However, he will not play in Saturday’s game.
Given the problem with sexual assaults on college campus, and the scrutiny that professional and college sports have come under as of late for their poor handling of sexual assaults, rapes, and domestic violence, this case has been under much scrutiny from the press and victims’ rights groups. Many are disappointed in the way this has played out, believing that the attack from Treon Harris’s attorney is largely responsible for the victim’s reluctance to pursue the criminal matter. Such reluctance occurs in a majority of rape cases in the U.S. The University has also chosen not to pursue the Student Code of Conduct violation charges against Treon Harris.
[Image Source: Tim Casey / Courtesy of the University of Florida Athletic Association]