Newly acquired Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown is denying accusations of rape and sexual assault by his former personal trainer, who filed a federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday.
Britney Taylor, who met Brown while they attended the University of Central Michigan together, states in her lawsuit that she was sexually assaulted by Brown in three separate incidents — two in June 2017 and another in May 2018.
In a statement released by attorney Darren Heitner, Brown “denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit.”
According to the lawsuit, Taylor, 28, reconnected with Brown two years ago when Brown reached out to her on Facebook. The two had first met at a bible study group at Central Michigan. Taylor, a college gymnast, had opened her own gym and was working as a trainer. The lawsuit states that in June 2017 Brown asked Taylor for help improving his flexibility. Taylor agreed to train Brown.
During a training trip in June 2017, when Taylor was staying at Brown’s home in the Pittsburgh area, Brown exposed himself and kissed Taylor without consent, the lawsuit alleges. During another visit later that month, Brown performed a sexual act without Taylor’s consent, according to the lawsuit.
Taylor cut off contact with Brown as a result, her suit states. Brown reached out again in February 2018, according to the lawsuit. Taylor agreed to begin training Brown once again. In May 2018, when Taylor was on a training visit to Miami, she went to a nightclub with Brown and another football player she worked with, according to the suit. She drove Brown and the other player back to Brown’s house, where she alleges Brown raped her.
“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Taylor said in a statement released by her lawyer. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”
Heitner, Brown’s lawyer, said Taylor initiated the contact in 2017 and approached Brown with a business proposal. Taylor asked Brown to invest $1.6 million in a project, but Brown declined when questions arose about how the money would be spent, and that is why she cut off contact, according to Heitner. Taylor later “resurfaced” and Brown took her on as a trainer, Heitner said. His statement also said Taylor traveled to visit him, asked him for Steelers tickets and posted photos taken with him.
According to Heitner’s statement, Taylor and Brown engaged in consensual sex after spending the night at a Miami nightclub in May 2018.
“Any sexual interaction (Taylor had) with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual,” Heitner said.
It’s unclear if Taylor ever contacted law enforcement.
The Patriots released a statement late Tuesday night, indicating that the NFL will further investigate the situation.
“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 Patriots said in a statement. “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.”
The Patriots acquired Brown this past weekend. The signing became official on Monday. Brown, who spent nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and developed into one of the NFL’s most dynamic receivers, has had a turbulent offseason. He forced a trade from Pittsburgh to Oakland, but never ended up playing a game for the Raiders.
The Raiders released Brown on Saturday following a wild offseason that saw him contract extreme frostbite on his feet (which prevented him from participating in the opening weeks of training camp), file multiple grievances against the NFL to get his preferred helmet reinstated, and engage in a public back-and-forth with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock.
Brown asked for his release from the team after Mayock reportedly voided the guarantees in his contract and levied a fine against him for conduct detrimental to the team.
The Pats were quick to sign Brown when he became available.
A seven-time Pro Bowler, Brown has amassed 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns since entering the league in 2010. Among active players, only Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten have more receiving yards than Brown.
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