NFL star Antonio Brown has been accused of raping a woman who used to work for him as a personal trainer.
A newly filed federal lawsuit contends that Brown, a 31-year-old wide receiver for the New England Patriots, sexually assaulted a gymnast and trainer named Britney Taylor on three different occasions, The New York Times reports.
The suit, filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida, claims that Brown first sexually assaulted Taylor twice in June 2017, first by exposing himself in front of her and kissing her without her consent before, later that month, masturbating in her presence and ejaculating onto her back, according to the outlet.
Taylor then terminated their professional relationship, but began to work with him again after he apologized and reassured her that he would “cease any sexual advances,” the suit reads, according to The Times. However, Taylor claims that Brown did not stay true to his word, and alleges that he then “forcibly raped” her in May 2018 when he pushed her face into a bed and forced himself on her despite her repeatedly screaming at him to stop.
Taylor, who met Brown when both were students at Central Michigan University, included in her suit vulgar messages that Brown allegedly sent to her, referring to the instances of assault, The Times reports.
In one message, Brown called Taylor, 28, a “weak b—tch,” the suit claims, according to NBC News.
Taylor’s suit comes on the heels of a tumultuous few months for Browns, who left the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Oakland Raiders only to repeatedly clash with his new team, ending in his release. Brown had just signed a year-long contract with the New England Patriots Saturday, netting him up to $15 million dollars, with an additional $9 million signing bonus, Sports Illustrated reports.
Brown denied the allegations and called the claims a “money grab” via a statement released by lawyer Darren Heitner.
“Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit,” it reads. “He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.”
Heitner’s statement claims that Taylor approached Brown in 2017 seeking an investment of more than $1 million in “business project” of hers, which he declined to make. At that point, she “cut off communications” with Brown before offering to train him again the following year, Heitner said.
Thereafter, Brown and his accuser engaged in a “consensual personal relationship," Heitner wrote, claiming that “any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”
Taylor, in a statement obtained by The Times, stated that she is willing to work with the NFL, should they decide to investigate.
“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” her statement reads. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”
The Patriots confirmed in a brief statement that they are aware of the allegations levied against Brown, and that the NFL is looking into it, according to NBC Sports.
“We take these allegations very seriously,” their statement reads. “Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.”
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