Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Title IX sexual assault investigation finds Florida WR Antonio Callaway not responsible

Months of uncertainty surrounding University of Florida star receiver Antonio Callaway appeared to come to a close Friday.

A Title IX hearing officer cleared Callaway of three university code of conduct charges related to a sexual assault investigation that began in January. The third-party hearing officer, Jacksonville lawyer and Gators booster Jake Schickel, ruled that Callaway was not responsible for sexual assault, sexual misconduct or conduct causing physical injury during a December encounter at Callaway's residence.

Schickel's four-page ruling effectively allows the Gators' top offensive talent to remain on the field and provides the first public outline of the incident.

The complainant's statements said she did not consent to the sexual intercourse "because of intoxication and/or force." But Schickel wrote that the evidence showed she was not "intoxicated to the extent she could not consent" and that she admitted in text messages that she was pretending to be drunk. Schickel found no evidence of injuries and wrote that some of the woman's other text messages were inconsistent.

Callaway said the woman was "the aggressor" in the situation because he was high on marijuana and "so stoned I had no interest in having sex with anyone," according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. Schickel did not hear Callaway's counter complaint because that investigation is ongoing.

"This decision by the hearing officer reflects only a fraction of the evidence, which is not favorable to the complainant," Callaway's attorney, Huntley Johnson, said in a statement. "The young lady's adviser has said, 'They will take their witnesses and go elsewhere.' They need to be careful what they wish for."

The complainant's attorney, John Clune, said his client will probably not continue to pursue the case, either by appealing UF's ruling or through a lawsuit.

The complainant boycotted last week's hearing because Schickel is a football booster, which Clune said gave an appearance of bias to a case involving a high-profile football player. Clune said the woman "has lost all faith in the university" and is still deciding whether to return to UF this fall. The Times typically does not name victims or possible victims of sexual assault.

"It wasn't exactly a news flash that Mr. Callaway was going to be found not responsible," Clune said. "It just seems like this whole situation, ever since we found out they were having a booster hear the case, is a disgrace, and it's a disservice to everybody who is involved in this process."

The federal gender-equity law Title IX requires universities to investigate allegations of sexual assault even if there is no criminal complaint. Clune informed the State Attorney's Office that the woman did not report the incident to police in part because she believed the prosecutor would not bring charges against a Gators football player.

In Friday's letter, Schickel detailed his experience prosecuting rape cases and said he did not believe his ruling would be biased. UF defended its practices Friday in a written statement but said it could not comment on specific cases because of student-privacy laws.

"Be assured that any situation of this serious nature reported to the university is immediately addressed following Title IX regulations, U.S. Department of Education guidelines and university policies," UF said in a statement released by communications director Margot Winick.

"These policies and practices support those who report sexual misconduct of any kind and ensure a fair investigation and process for the accuser and the accused beginning with the initial report and through any appeal."

UF initially suspended Callaway in January while it investigated the complaint against the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Miami native. Callaway missed all of spring practice before the school modified his suspension in June to allow him to return to campus and team workouts. He has participated in the team's fall camp.

A UF athletics department spokesman deferred comment to the university. Players are typically not suspended after their first positive marijuana test, according to the department's policy.

Callaway was the Gators' most explosive offensive player last season and the hero of their comeback win over Tennessee. He led the team with 1,211 all-purpose yards, and his 678 receiving yards set a school freshman record.

Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Title IX sexual assault investigation finds Florida WR Antonio Callaway not responsible 08/12/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2016 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays power way to 5-1 win over Orioles on eve of crucial road trip

    The Heater

    St. PETERSBURG — The Rays didn't get many hits in the early going Wednesday, but they got a couple that went a long way and that was enough to beat the Orioles, 5-1.

    Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) hugs catcher Jesus Sucre (45) after Souza's solo home run in the seventh inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. 'That's not me': Jaguars' Dante Fowler apologizes for arrest


    Former Lakewood High and Gators star Dante Fowler, now a defensive end with the Jacksonville Jaguars, spoke Wednesday for the first time since his arrest in St. Petersburg last week, apologizing to his team and fans.

    Dante Fowler faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and criminal mischief from his arrest, and entered a written plea of "not guilty" on Tuesday.
  3. Bucs' Josh Huff has DUI citation dismissed, attorney says


    Bucs receiver Josh Huff continues to resolve the legal issues that cost him a job with the Eagles last year, as the DUI citation against him was dismissed Tuesday, according to his attorney.

    Bucs receiver Josh Huff makes a first-down catch against the Saints, one of three games he played in for Tampa Bay last season.
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 21-30


    TAMPA - Jesuit linebacker Anthony Nelson will help lead the Tigers into the 2017 season. Taken 5-17-17 by Scott Purks
  5. For starters: Cobb on the hill against Orioles



    Alex Cobb takes the mound, hoping to duplicate his performance from Friday when he was three outs away from pitching a complete game.