A college football player helped rescue a 19-year-old woman on Thursday, outside of a Gainesville, Florida, bar, after he noticed she was too inebriated to give consent to a man who had her pinned against a dumpster.
USA Today reports that Cristian Garcia, a linebacker for the University of Florida (UF), was carrying trash bags out from the 101 Cantina bar at around 2:20 a.m., where he works night shift security, when he noticed what appeared a couple engaged in sex behind the dumpster. At first it seemed consensual, but when Garcia moved closer, he could tell that while the man was coherent, the female looked like she was losing consciousness.
The suspect, Christopher Lee Shaw, 34, apparently pulled an unidentified 19-year-old teen outside after meeting her inside the bar earlier that night. Garcia stepped in when he saw that there was no way the girl could have given consent.
“The girl was basically unconscious, so I knew there was no way she could be giving consent. I turned around and pulled the guy by the shoulder and said ‘Get off.’ That pretty much ended the situation then. He was intoxicated and attempted to throw some punches, but he slipped and busted his face on the wall.”
The Gainesville Police Department viewed surveillance footage of Shaw and the victim, and according to their police report, “it is clear the victim was mentally and physically unable to give consent due to her level of intoxication. The victim was slumping over and unable to hold up her head.”
The victim was taken to the hospital, where she was later interviewed by detectives. She told them that she had only met Shaw on the night in question, and that she pushed him away several times, but kept slipping in and out of consciousness.
Garcia and another witness picked Shaw out of a lineup the following day. He was subsequently arrested. Shaw told police that the 19-year-old pulled him to her and started kissing him, and that that was as far as anything went. Yet, authorities stated that the surveillance footage indicated otherwise. The Gainesville PD have reason to believe that Shaw may have committed other similar acts around the Gainesville area, due to “evidence they collected during a search warrant.”
Gainesville police department spokesperson Ben Tobias urges anyone who may have been victim to Shaw to come forward.
Reflecting on the incident, Garcia stated that he knew he had to help the girl, or it would’ve weighed on his conscience.
“I hold strong moral values and I don’t think anyone should be taken advantage of in that kind of way.”
The incident is similar to the highly publicized case of Brock Turner, a former Stanford University student who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a female behind a frat house dumpster. As with the victim in the Shaw case, the victim in the Turner case was too inebriated to give sexual consent. A group of people passing by the frat house dumpster saw Turner assaulting a victim who was clearly unconscious. They pulled Turner off of her and confronted him, but he claimed the act was consensual.
Turner’s case sparked outrage across the nation when a California judge sentenced him to only six months behind bars for the assault. In another similar case in California, the same judge handed down a much harsher sentence to a man who was charged with the same crime as Turner.
Meanwhile, as of Sunday, Shaw, who was previously arrested in 2014 for assaulting a police officer, remains in the Alachua County Jail on a $500,000 bond. He’s charged with sexual assault and battery, a first-degree felony.
[Photo by Alachua Sheriff’s Office]