NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma prosecutor decided against charging Sooners running back Rodney Anderson with sexual assault on Thursday, clearing a major cloud hanging over the team ahead of its College Football Playoff semifinal against Georgia.
“Definitely, charges are not warranted under these circumstances,” Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said during a news conference.
The accusation stemmed from a petition for a protective order in which a woman said Anderson assaulted her in her apartment last month and that she feared for her safety. Anderson had gone to her home after the two met during a night of drinking.
Mashburn’s assistant prosecutor, Susan Caswell, said one of the woman’s close friends told an investigator the accuser called the friend from a bathroom saying she was excited that Anderson was at her house.
“She said that she had vomited, but intended to brush her teeth and go back and kiss him some more,” Caswell said, describing what the friend told the investigator. “She sounded tipsy, but not drunk.”
Caswell said two other witnesses relayed similar accounts — that they understood that Anderson and the woman had a good time. They added that the woman had hoped to have a romantic relationship with Anderson.
Derek Chance, Anderson’s attorney, had called the accusation “patently false,” saying the woman made it after Anderson declined her social invitations.
“The investigation reveals what we have maintained, Mr. Anderson is innocent of these allegations,” Chance said in a statement. “Anderson is ready to focus on his obligations as a student-athlete.”
Anderson has been one of Oklahoma’s breakout stars after season-ending injuries the past two years. He leads the Sooners with 960 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns and has 283 yards and five touchdowns receiving. Anderson took over this year for departed running back Joe Mixon, who was suspended for a year after he punched a woman in a restaurant in July 2014. Mixon is now with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.
The prosecutor’s decision answered a key question hanging over Oklahoma ahead of its showdown with Georgia in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
The Bulldogs have had some off-field distractions, too.
Starting inside linebacker Natrez Patrick and receiver Jayson Stanley were arrested earlier this month on charges of marijuana possession. A misdemeanor against Patrick has been dismissed and Stanley has reportedly negotiated an agreement to plead guilty to possession of marijuana of less than an ounce and speeding in exchange for dropping a DUI drug charge.
Freshman defensive back Latavious Brini, who has not played for the Bulldogs this season, faces a felony forgery charge over allegations of passing a counterfeit $100 bill last summer.
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