“I pride myself on doing things the right way on and off the field,” Conley said. “The things being said about me and what happened that night are not true and don’t fit my character at all. I realize that I put myself in the situation and I could have used better judgment. However, I have worked tirelessly to put myself in position to have the honor of being an NFL draft pick and these untrue allegations are putting a huge cloud over my name and the NFL Draft.”
A woman has accused Conley of raping her in a Cleveland hotel earlier this month, according to Cleveland police. Conley has not been arrested nor have charges been filed against him as Cleveland police investigate the allegations. Police spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia said investigators are making arrangements to interview Conley.
In the statement, Conley said he felt “powerless” as a result of the allegation.
“I am upset but realize that I am powerless when false accusations are made and people try to convict you in the court of public opinion,” Conley said. “It’s sad that your name can get dragged through the mud based upon untrue and malicious allegations alone.”
According to a police report obtained by ESPN, the alleged incident occurred April 9. A 23-year-old woman told police she met Conley in the elevator of the downtown hotel and he brought her back to his hotel room. She alleges that after she declined an offer of group sex with Conley and two friends, Conley had sex with her then kicked her out of the room.
“I am upset but realize that I am powerless when false accusations are made and people try to convict you in the court of public opinion. It’s sad that your name can get dragged through the mud based upon untrue and malicious allegations alone.”
Gareon Conley, responding to a rape accusation made against him
The woman reported the incident and then went to a local hospital, where a rape kit was administered. But the woman also refused to speak to police, according to the report.
According to the police report, Conley’s friends said nothing happened between Conley and his accuser and that she was angry he asked her to leave.
“There were several witnesses, including another female, who were present the entire time and have given statements that give an accurate account of what took place,” Conley said. “We also have video evidence that further discredit and disprove other versions of these events.”
Conley was No. 18 on Mel Kiper Jr.’s final Big Board for the NFL draft, which begins Thursday. Conley, 21, had been expected to be taken in the first round.
Based on the allegation, Conley said he does not plan to attend the draft.
“I was excited about participating in Thursday’s draft, but I have decided that it would be selfish for me to stay and be a distraction to the NFL, the other players, and their families who have worked just as hard as me to enjoy the experience so I will not be in attendance,” Conley said.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.