A Louisville football player who was suspended earlier this month after allegations of threatening a woman at gunpoint was also accused of raping a second woman prior to his suspension.
Sophomore tight end Kemari Averett is the subject of a police investigation into the alleged rape of a woman at his apartment this August, according to his defense attorney, Aubrey Williams. The incident first came to light through documents obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Police have not charged Averett, 20, with a crime in that case. Williams called the claims made against his client "baseless garbage."
The woman who says Averett raped her visited an on-campus sexual assault crisis center the day she said the rape occurred in August, according to records obtained by the Courier-Journal. She reported the incident to university police Oct. 9, according to online records. Averett played in the Cardinals' football game at Boston College four days later.
Asked when officials in the athletic department and at the university learned about the rape accusation, the school's director of media relations, John Karman, said federal privacy laws prevent him from answering questions about the incident.
Averett's attorney told ESPN that he believes the university knew about the accusations in August and determined them to be without merit.
Karman refuted that, saying the university has no record of an investigation conducted in August into accusations against Averett. Karman said when a student reports an issue to a sexual assault crisis center, that information is not immediately passed on to other offices within the university until the claimant decides if he or she wants to pursue charges.
Karman said privacy laws prevent him from answering a question about who at the university knew about the rape investigation during the four-day period between Oct. 9 when the rape allegation was first reported to police and Oct. 13 when Averett suited up and played a game for Louisville. Athletic director Vince Tyra told the Courier-Journal, "if the university notifies us of information that necessitates action, we act. We did not have information that would have suspended (him) from competition."
Louisville suspended Averett from the football program indefinitely on Oct. 16. That announcement came after he was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and domestic violence related to the threats he allegedly made at gunpoint to a woman not involved in the rape accusation. Karman said those charges are the reason for Averett's suspension.
Averett and Williams appeared in court Thursday to fight those charges. The woman, who police said is Averett's girlfriend and pregnant with his child, said Averett put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her earlier this month when she drove to his apartment to drop off a backpack.
Williams said his client maintains that he did not have a gun with him during the exchange in question. Williams said police later entered Averett's apartment and found a BB gun in his bedroom, which they assumed was the weapon that the woman referenced. Williams said the felony charges were reduced to a misdemeanor in court Thursday. The court's online records have not yet been updated since the morning's hearing.
Williams said Averett has been banned from campus since last week and has been taking classes online. Karman said he couldn't confirm the campus ban but did say Averett remains enrolled as a student at Louisville.
Williams said Thursday he was in the process of drafting a letter demanding that the university let Averett return to campus and "restore him to his proper status or they will be facing a lawsuit for depriving him of his right to due process." Williams said "proper status" includes allowing him to return to the football team.
Louisville is legally allowed to suspend students from extracurricular activities at its own discretion.