In a stunning turn of events, the woman accusing Jonathan Taylor of domestic abuse has not only recanted her charge, she has been arrested for filing a false police report.
The 24-year-old woman, who has not been identified, recanted her story three days after Taylor was dismissed from the Alabama football program by coach Nick Saban. Taylor is still facing domestic abuse charges from a case in 2014 while admitted to Georgia. That arrest led to Taylor’s dismissal from the Georgia program.
According to MSN Sports, after the woman had given her original testimony to the Tuscaloosa, Alabama police, Taylor was arrested and charged with domestic violence third-degree assault and domestic violence third-degree criminal mischief. She said that a verbal argument had escalated to a physical argument. The next day, Alabama coach Saban dismissed Taylor from the program. Officers did “observe physical injuries” on the woman.
Two days later, the woman called the police department, telling them that she had lied and that Taylor did not hurt her. She maintained in further investigations that she lied about what Taylor had done, and was subsequently arrested for providing false statements.
Lt. Kip Hart, assistant commander of the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide unit, said the charges will be reviewed by the court system.
Kathryn Boortz, a criminal defense attorney focused on family violence from Atlanta, says recantations are more common than one would believe.
“It’s incredibly common for accusers to recant and this makes it extremely difficult for the prosecution because there’s usually only one witness,” said Boortz, a former public defender. “Sometimes, particularly in a high profile case such as with an athlete, prosecutors will stay in the game longer to show they’re not giving a free pass because of the athlete’s semi-celebrity status.
“The prosecutor is more likely to go the extra mile in speaking with the accuser or seeking out neighbors or other witnesses.”
Coach Saban said Monday that he feels sorry for Taylor and the whole situation, but will not reinstate Taylor.
“I still think he’s a good person,” Saban said. “I think he has a problem and a circumstance that is not acceptable.”
Saban also said that Taylor has been in counseling while in Alabama, and has not missed a session.
Alabama.com is reporting that Taylor’s lawyer, Kim Stephens, is still holding out hope.
“I certainly would hope so,” Athens attorney Kim Stephens said on Wednesday evening. “My thought, from an outside perspective, in light of all the backlash, that coach Saban and university took as a result of the false accusations that were made and the removal from the team, I think it would be hard for him to take (Taylor) back on the team in spite of the recantation.
“But I think fairness would dictate that they’d reconsider and at least talk to the accuser or former accuser in the case, then make a decision based on that.”