NORMAN, Okla. -- The district attorney's office for Cleveland County, Oklahoma, determined that criminal charges were not warranted against University of Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson after a police investigation into whether he sexually assaulted a woman who filed an emergency protective order against him.
District Attorney Greg Mashburn said during a news conference that the evidence, which included interviews with the woman's friends and text messages exchanged between the woman and Anderson, suggested the sexual encounter was consensual.
"There are certainly cases where we just simply can't prove something and so we will decline [to pursue charges] due to insufficient evidence," Mashburn said. "But I think in this case, it was important for us to tell the whole story so people understand the facts that were presented to us."
Mashburn's office identified the woman by name as Courtney Thornton. Thornton also voluntarily identified herself to ESPN.
There was no immediate comment from the university. Anderson is Oklahoma's leading rusher with 960 yards and 11 touchdown runs. The Sooners will face Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on New Year's Day.
Through an emergency protective order filed on Dec. 4, Thornton accused Anderson of raping her on Nov. 16. According to the order, the two met at a bar and went back to her apartment. Two weeks later, through a conversation with a friend, the woman said she began "recalling images and feelings of him and forcing his fingers" inside her and biting her.
Assistant District Attorney Susan Caswell said that account did not match up with what the Norman Police Department found.
Caswell said Thornton told police, upon inquiry, that she "never communicated to Mr. Anderson in any way to let him know that she did not want to do this," and that there were "several back-and-forth [text] messages that were friendly ... stating that they had fun and that she had hoped to see Mr. Anderson again."
Caswell went on to say, "That night, [the woman] had called [a friend] from the bathroom and she said she was very excited that Mr. Anderson was at her house. She said that she had vomited but intended to brush her teeth and go back and kiss him some more."
The friend told police that the woman "sounded tipsy, but not drunk." And that she had told the friend the next day that "she had had a great time" with Anderson.
"She described the sexual activity in the living room and the bedroom and stated she hoped they would get together again," Caswell continued. "She provided intimate details about the sexual activity and stated that she wished she had actually had sex with Mr. Anderson, but she thought he was just being a nice guy."
Caswell said police confirmed through text messages and two additional friends that the friend had accurately reflected the woman's initial account.
"It was their understanding that [they] had a good time and [the woman] was hoping to have a romantic relationship with him," Caswell said. "That she then began to brag about the relationship that she was having with him."
Caswell said the woman's last few messages to Anderson suggesting they get together were not returned. Caswell said two weeks after the encounter, the woman was talking to a male she was in a relationship with, and that's when she first indicated that Anderson had forced her into sexual activity, leading to her filing the protective order.
In the order the woman also said that she was afraid for her safety because Anderson knew where her apartment was. But Caswell said she didn't believe that the woman, "under the circumstances, should be fearful."
A hearing on the protective order is still scheduled for Dec. 18. Mashburn said his office would not be pursuing charges against the woman for filing a false report, noting they "can't prove that she's lying."
"We appreciate the comprehensive investigation by the Norman Police Department, and the District Attorney's thorough consideration of the evidence," Anderson's attorney, Derek Chance said in a statement. "The investigation reveals what we have maintained, Mr. Anderson is innocent of these allegations."
Anderson was not suspended by the team during the investigation. Football coach Lincoln Riley said Thursday that Anderson was "fully on the team."