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Friday, July 01, 2022
NEWS  |  CAMPUS

UF basketball player accused of sexual assault

The allegations are part of the flurry of sexual assault cases on campus

Editor’s note: This story contains descriptions of sexual assualt.

Keyontae Johnson, a Florida basketball player and 2020 SEC preseason player of the year, has been accused of sexual assault by the police. He hasn’t been arrested as of Sunday night.

Johnson, 22, has been accused of felony sexual assault and has been under investigation for four weeks, according to a WUFT report. Johnson’s accuser, 19, who remains anonymous, claims Johnson assaulted her while she was intoxicated at a pool party Feb. 26. In a controlled phone call, an investigation tactic used by police, Johnson admitted he was aware of the accuser’s drunken state.

The incident took place during a party at Canopy Apartments in Gainesville, where Johnson lives, according to police records. The party took place after the team’s return from an away victory against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. Johnson’s accuser asked to use the restroom but doesn’t recall walking to the residence. 

The accuser does recall Johnson assaulting her. 

Two witnesses reported that the accuser was in Johnson’s apartment for about 35 minutes before returning. When the accuser returned, witnesses report she was unable to stand on her own and was incoherent. 

The accusation against Johnson is one of many to do with sexual violence in Gainesville. In 2020, 128 sexual assault cases were reported to the Gainesville Police Department. 

Florida’s most recent and prominent sexual assault allegations came from members of the football team, former wide reciever Antonio Callaway and quarterback Treon Harris. In August of 2016, Callaway and Harris were accused of sexual assault to the UF student conduct office, not the police. 

A Title IX hearing was conducted for both cases. The university was under scrutiny after appointing a third-party hearing officer Jake Schnickel, an attorney, former UF athlete and Gator booster to represent Callaway.

Similar to many sexual assult cases in Gainesville, the case blew over and Callaway went on to appear in 12 games for the Gators in 2016, while Harris transfered to Tennessee State University in 2017. It wasn’t until a report in July of 2017 that it was revealed UF had spent over $170,000 in legal fees to back Callaway. 

Johnson, a Norfolk, Virginia, native hasn’t played in a game since collapsing during a contest against Florida State Dec. 12, 2020. He most recently took the court for a ceremonious tipoff on senior night against Kentucky. Johnson is on track to graduate in May of 2022. 

The police report states that Johnson and his accuser had consensual intercourse as recently as August 2021, but the accuser ended the relationship. 

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Twenty-eight student athletes have been granted eligibility to transfer and play elsewhere after being disciplined for a sexual assault crime by their university, according to a USA Today investigative report. Five more have been granted eligibility despite being convicted in the court of law. 

In a study involving three dozen high-level NCAA Division I programs (including Florida), student athletes make up less than 3% of the total student body, but account for 9% of all sexual offenses. In a 2019 survey conducted by UF, 30% of undergraduate women reported they had been sexually assaulted via physical force or inability to consent.

Johnson’s lawyer, Ron Kozlowski, made a brief statement to Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel

“I’m confident once the facts come out, no charges will be filed,” Kozlowski said. “Keyontae didn’t commit a crime, didn’t do anything wrong. That will be apparent once the facts are out.”

A spokesperson from The University Athletic Association declined to comment on the allegation.

Contact Jackson Castellano at jcastellano@alligator.org. Find him on Twitter @jaxacastellano.

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