Gareon Conley, former OSU player and top NFL Draft prospect, accused of rape at Cleveland hotel

CLEVELAND - A former Ohio State University football player and top NFL Draft prospect is the subject of a rape investigation by Cleveland police. 

Gareon Conley, a former cornerback at Ohio State and expected first-round pick, is accused of raping a woman at the Westin Hotel on St. Clair Avenue on April 9.

Police gathered information from Conley’s accuser — a 23-year-old woman — at the hotel early that morning. After talking to officers, she was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center, where a rape kit was administered.

The reporting officer said he tried to follow up with the alleged victim at the hospital but she “just kept saying she wanted to go home and that her dignity was stripped from her in a manner of minutes.”

Cleveland police have not filed charges against Conley in connection to the case.

A Cleveland police spokesperson told News 5 they are continuing to investigate but have not formally interviewed Conley. Police said Conley does not live in Cleveland but they are trying to track him down for an official statement. 

Conley’s attorney, Kevin Spellacy, would not provide a statement to News 5, only saying: “No comment other than what’s been previously quoted.”

Spellacy spoke to Cleveland.com, calling the accusations "ridiculous and ludicrous.” He said the woman who reported the incident is "an opportunist."

"There was no sexual assault," he said. "We've cooperated fully with the police. I actually reached out to them before they even asked us."

A Cleveland police 'detail' report describes the events, according to the accuser:

  • The woman walked back to the hotel at 2:45 a.m. with some friends
  • In the elevator, they met Conley
  • The alleged victim decided not to go back to her room and instead go with Conley to his room
  • The woman noticed another man and woman inside the hotel room
  • “Conley asked [the alleged victim] if she wanted to have a foursome with the couple in the bathroom. [The alleged victim] said she did not want to have a foursome. She told Conley she wanted to watch the couple in the bathroom. [The alleged victim] only said this to Conley to try and avoid having sex with Conley all together. “
  • Conley then sexually assaulted the woman
  • During the act, [the alleged victim] was saying ‘no stop, it hurts!’ Afterward, Conley kicked the woman out of the room
  • The woman said Conley wouldn’t take his sunglasses off and had an Ohio State tattoo on his left forearm.

Officers spoke to two witnesses at the hotel. Conley was not there when police arrived.

One of the witnesses said Conley was with the woman but he never touched her. He said the woman was mad because she was kicked out of the room.

The other witness told police the two were laying in the bed together but nothing happened.

It was four years ago that similar allegations were raised against Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston.

On Jan. 13, 2013, a Florida State University student identified the now-NFL player as the person who raped her in December 2012.

No charges were ever filed in that case.

An April 2014 investigation by the New York Times found that’s largely because “there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.”

The New York Times reported:

“The police did not follow the obvious leads that would have quickly identified the suspect as well as witnesses, one of whom videotaped part of the sexual encounter. After the accuser identified Mr. Winston as her assailant, the police did not even attempt to interview him for nearly two weeks and never obtained his DNA.”

After the state attorney’s office determined there wasn't enough evidence to win a conviction, the victim sued Winston.

The suit was settled last December.

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