MIAMI (WSVN) - New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has been named in a federal rape lawsuit in South Florida.
According to the civil lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Brown, 31, “exploited, sexually assaulted and raped his former trainer, Britney Taylor.”
“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Taylor said in a statement. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault. Speaking out removes the shame that I have felt for the past year and places it on the person responsible for my rape. I will cooperate with the NFL and any other agencies; however, at this time, I respectfully request that the media please respect my privacy.”
The lawsuit alleges that in June 2017, while he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown allegedly sexually assaulted Taylor twice while they were together for training sessions. The first incident happened at Brown’s Pittsburgh-area home when the two were doing bible study in early June, and the second incident happened at his Miami home in late June.
“First, Brown exposed himself and kissed Ms. Taylor without her consent,” the lawsuit states. “Later that month, Brown, while positioned behind Ms. Taylor, began masturbating near her without her knowledge and ejaculated on her back. Ms. Taylor realized what occurred when she felt a wet spot soak through her clothing. Later, in astonishingly profane and angry text messages, Brown bragged about the incident to her.”
After the incident, Taylor cut off her working relationship with Brown, the suit states.
Several months later, Brown reached out to Taylor, asked for forgiveness for his actions and wanted to resume training with Taylor. The suit states that Taylor, who was hesitant to resume training with Brown, eventually agreed after he assured her that he would stop any sexual advances.
According to the suit, on May 20, 2018, “Brown cornered Taylor, forced her down onto a bed, pushed her face into the mattress and forcibly raped her” at his South Florida home after coming home from a club.
“Ms. Taylor tried to resist him, but Brown was too strong and physically overpowered her,” the suit states. “She screamed and cried throughout the entire rape, repeatedly shouting ‘no’ and ‘stop.’ Brown refused and penetrated her.”
Taylor said she suffered from near-daily panic attacks and had suicidal thoughts.
Brown was born in Miami and played high school football at Miami Norland Senior High School before playing college football at Central Michigan University. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Steelers.
The 31-year-old has had a tumultuous offseason. He missed much of training camp with the Oakland Raiders thanks in part to frostbite he suffered in his feet while in cryotherapy. Brown also threatened to retire from the NFL over helmet regulations and posted on social media that he wished to be released from the Raiders.
The Raiders then released the wide receiver, and he signed a one-year contract with the Patriots.
The lawsuit states that Taylor met Brown in 2010 when they both attended Central Michigan.
Brown’s attorneys released a statement on the lawsuit Tuesday night that read in part, “Antonio Brown learned today that he has been named in a lawsuit filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit. He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.”
His attorney also stated Taylor asked Brown for money regarding a business project and when he didn’t pay her, she supposedly cut him off before resurfacing again in 2018. He said any sexual encounters the two had were consensual.
At around midnight Wednesday, the Patriots released a statement that said the NFL will be investigating the allegations against Brown.
“We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio’s representatives,” the statement said. “We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.”
It remains unknown if any police reports were filed in any of the incidents described in the lawsuit.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke to the media on Wednesday morning.
“Antonio and his representatives have made statements, so I’m not going to be expanding on any of those,” said Belichick. “They are what they are. We’ve looked into the situation. We’re taking it very seriously all the way through the organization. I’m sure there are questions, but I’m not going to be entering a discussion about that today.”
7News has reached out to the victim’s attorney, who declined comment.
Drew Rosenhaus, Brown’s South Florida-based agent, spoke to ESPN on Wednesday afternoon.
“Antonio and I have been unfortunately anticipating this possibility. What I want to emphasize is that Antonio takes these allegations very seriously,” Rosenhaus said. “He’s a loving father of five children, including a daughter. I, myself am a father and I have two daughters that I love very much, along with my wife. I wouldn’t be doing this interview if I didn’t believe Antonio. These allegations are false. He denies every one of them. I’m very confident that his legal team has facts that will prove this. All we can ask for is that people keep in mind that this is a civil matter, this is not a criminal matter. This is a civil case right now, and there’s a procedure. I’ve been an NFL agent for 30 years, and my concern is that people judge Antonio without knowing the facts.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also spoke to reporters Wednesday.
“Things that don’t involve me don’t involve me,” Brady said.
Brown’s attorney is expected to speak to the media on Wednesday afternoon.
Taylor said she is willing to meet with the NFL next week.
There remains a possibility that Brown could be placed on the NFL’s exempt list, which means he would be ineligible to play.
The Miami Dolphins will play the Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
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