University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Linebacker Allen Artis stood on the steps of the Orange County courthouse with his lawyer and family Thursday morning and maintained he did not rape a fellow UNC student earlier this year.
Delaney Robinson, 19, has accused Artis of raping her last February. She's also accused the university and campus police of mishandling her case.
"I did not rape her,” said Artis, 21, repeating his innocence to reporters at the press conference.
Campus officials failed to bring rape felony charges after more than six months of investigation, and Robinson filed her own misdemeanor charges against Artis, including sexual battery. But Artis maintains the sex they had that night was consensual.
"We shouldn't be here right now, we really shouldn't," said Artis’s attorney Kerry Sutton of the press conference. "We don't go to the media and try our cases. We have a fair trial system. We seek justice in courtrooms."
Sutton said she and Artis felt they needed talk to reporters after Robinson and her attorney, Denise Branch, held a press conference and revealed photos to the media that Robinson says show the bruising to her neck she sustained during the alleged rape.
"We have all of those videos, all of those photos of Ms. Robinson, and we have a mug shot of a young black man athlete,” Sutton said. “So how do you think people are feeling about this case right now?"
His mother, Stephanie Artis, urged those following the case not to jump to conclusions about her son.
"This is my baby, but it could be yours in this position," she said, "So I think that's one thing to keep in mind to keep us grounded and looking for the truth."
Artis' next court date for the misdemeanor charges is set for December 5, but Sutton said she does not believe her client can receive a fair trial in Orange County because of the media attention the case has attracted.
Robinson's attorney, Denise Branch, said in an emailed statement that her client has sought justice in the ways available to her.
"Delaney Robinson is a rape victim, and she has chosen to exercise her rights as a victim to be involved in these legal proceedings," Branch wrote. "Ms. Robinson remains resolute in her pursuit of justice."