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The latest on college sports in Florida

Chris Rainey gets deferred prosecution



Florida junior wide receiver Chris Rainey settled his legal issues today but Gators coach Urban Meyer said he will not play in Saturday's game at Alabama.

Rainey has pled to a misdemeanor stalking charge and received deferred prosecution.

He was arrested on Sept. 14 for allegedly sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message. Meyer said Monday afternoon "He's not part of the team,'' but it is unclear whether Meyer was aware Rainey had settled his legal issues.

Rainey must avoid legal trouble for six months, pay $50 to the state attorney for the cost of prosecution, donate $100 to Peaceful Paths (a local organization that helps women affected by domestic violence) and undergo evaluation and any required counseling for anger management/domestic violence issues.

He also can have no hostile contact with victim or her family.

"Mr. Rainey is thankful for the resolution and he has certainly learned a lot about life because of this situation," his attorney Huntley Johnson said.

The woman involved in the case told a judge at Rainey's first court appearance that she did not fear for her life and did not want Rainey prosecuted. She released a statement through the State Attorney's Office on Monday, saying she supported State Attorney Bill Cervone's decision.

Cervone also issued a statement outlining the reasons for his decision.

"Although I believe that probable cause existed for a felony charge because the facts involve an at least arguable threat, which is within the legal definition of felony stalking, the Defendant was never in a position to have acted on that threat and there is little if anything in his actions that night or in his background to suggest that he would have done so,'' Cervone said in the statement. "Misdemeanor stalking is legally the more appropriate charge when no imminent danger was perceived or can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the harassing contact, not done in person, occurred in a short, compressed time period. The Victim has in fact essentially stated that she was more annoyed than threatened, and that she did not want an arrest or prosecution, only the resolution of an immediate problem. I am not going to consider any request that the case be dropped in its entirety, however, because I am concerned when young people act in this way and believe that we should intervene at least to the point of forcing a cooling off period and some professional counseling on anger management and related coping skills.  As a result, the case is being re-cast as a misdemeanor stalking offense, which as a matter of law more closely reflects the facts involved. Since the Defendant has no prior criminal history other than an unrelated drivers license charge that was resolved with no conviction, he will be treated as any first offender would in similar circumstances and offered a deferral agreement. The terms of that agreement have been crafted to address the concerns of my office and, if complied with, will allow the Defendant and everyone else involved to move on.''


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 12:25am]


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