A football player for the University of Oklahoma was accused of rape and slapped with an emergency protective order this month, however, after police began an investigation; it appears that the charges were false and lodged by the woman after the player rejected her.
The Sooner’s starting running back, Rodney Anderson, found himself accused of rape after first meeting a woman named Courtney Thornton at a bar on November 16. Thornton alleged that Anderson took her back to her apartment, and then raped her. The 23-year-old Thornton applied for an order of protection on December 4 when news broke of the accusations.
At the time of her filing, Thornton recalled Anderson “biting me, and not feeling like I could say anything and trying to get away from him to put clothes on, but he followed me, asking what I thought I was doing. I remember feeling like I couldn’t get away. He knows where I live and I’m scared for my safety.”
The player immediately denied all charges. “The allegations are patently false. Mr. Anderson did not, nor would he ever, force himself on any woman,” Anderson’s attorney said in December.
However, after an investigation, police say that the woman’s story fell apart. The charges were deemed unprovable, according to the DA.
“There are certainly cases where we just simply can’t prove something, and so we will decline [to pursue charges] due to insufficient evidence,” District Attorney Greg Mashburn said on December 14. “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.”
Assistant District Attorney Susan Caswell added that the purported victim told police she never told Anderson she felt he raped her after that night. In fact, investigators found a series of texts between the two where it appeared that Caswell was urging a renewed relationship.
Caswell reported 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.”
Investigators also found that the woman had called friends to tell them of how excited she was to meet Anderson and that she hoped to have a deeper relationship with him. Those friends also told investigators that Thornton told them that said she did not have sexual relations with the football player but hoped that she soon would.
“It was their understanding that [they] had a good time and [the woman] was hoping to have a romantic relationship with him,” Caswell claimed. “That she then began to brag about the relationship that she was having with him.”
The officials did not outright pronounce Thornton’s charges to be lies, only noting that the facts don’t seem to substantiate any further investigation into the alleged incident. A hearing for the protective order is still scheduled for later this month, but authorities said they would not be pursuing any actions against the player.
The team did not punish Anderson after the allegations went public. In fact, head coach Lincoln Riley recently said Anderson was “fully on the team.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.