Last week Auburn tight end Landon Rice abruptly left the program without much warning. Head coach Gus Malzahn said the departure was due to personal reasons, but soon after that came word Rice was accused of first-degree rape. As is often the case, attorneys representing Rice have disputed those allegations.
“Landon was projected to start as tight end for the Auburn Tigers, but two days before their opening game against Clemson [in the season opener], false accusations and fundamental unfairness combined to prevent that from happening,” Augusta Dowd, an attorney with the Birmingham-based law firm White, Arnold & Dowd, said in a statement Tuesday (as quoted by Al.com). “For the past several days, Landon and his family have been subjected to prejudicial and incorrect commentary in an environment that has not permitted them a full opportunity to be heard.”
Rice has not been charged with any crime at this time.
“Landon has not been charged with any criminal offense. When the true facts are revealed, those who made false accusations and vilified Landon will be held accountable,” the statement added. “Landon and his family appreciate and respect coach (Gus) Malzahn and his staff. Along with Landon’s teammates and friends, they have helped Landon through this difficult time. Landon and his family are confident they will prevail. They have been sustained by the truth, their faith, and great members of the Auburn family.
“The legal team will deal with the false accusations and be ready, willing, and able to demonstrate, in the appropriate venue, that Landon has been unfairly treated.”
Rice has been accused of raping a 19-year old woman back in April. A temporary order of protection has been granted for the woman and a hearing is scheduled for October 4.
And now we know a little bit more of the rest of what could potentially be a very disturbing story.
Following last Saturday’s win over Arkansas State, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that tight end Landon Rice had left his football program. Malzahn used “personal reasons” as the impetus for the former four-star recruit’s departure.
Friday night, however, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported that Rice has been accused of first-degree rape. A 19-year-old female filed a police report July 27 accusing Rice of raping her April 12 at an on-campus residence hall and sought a protective order against him Sept. 12, with a temporary order issued three days later.
The alleged victim’s reasoning behind seeking the protective order is eyebrow-raising, to say the least. From the Ledger-Enquirer:
The plaintiff filing the petition with the court makes the same allegation of sexual assault, and seeks a protection order from abuse in fear of “retaliation from a Title IX investigation.”
Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. This includes incidents of sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination and sexual violence.
The law requires schools to take immediate steps to address any sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus to prevent it from affecting students further.
“Any questions regarding law enforcement matters should be directed to law enforcement authorities,” an AU spokesperson told the paper in a statement. “In addition, by matter of policy and practice, we wouldn’t discuss any issue regarding the privacy of students.”
As of this posting, Rice has not been arrested or formally charged in connection to the alleged rape.
Rice was an early enrollee who participated in spring practice earlier this year. His brother, Logan Rice, plays wide receiver for the Tigers.