Jake Lourim and Justin Sayers discuss rape accusations against Louisville football player Kemari Averett.
Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier Journal
University of Louisville police are investigating an Oct. 9 report filed by a 20-year-old student that alleges Cardinals football player Kemari Averett raped her at his apartment in mid-August, according to documents obtained by the Courier Journal.
It means that Averett was already under investigation in the alleged sexual assault, which the woman first reported in mid-August, when he was arrested Oct. 15 for allegedly holding a gun to a different woman’s head.
Just days after campus police opened the rape case, the 20-year-old sophomore tight end played in Louisville’s Oct. 13 road game against Boston College.
In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Averett said he was aware of the allegation, but described it as a “false accusation.”
Averett has not been charged in the alleged rape case, records show.
He told the Courier Journal he had a previous relationship with the accuser but did not have sex with her that August morning and had not been in contact with her for “about four months.”
“I told her that I never want to be with her, and I’m quite sure that’s the reason why that she’s trying to say I raped her,” he said.
At the time he is accused of raping the alleged victim, “I was at practice,” Averett said. “I was at the football stadium at 7 o’clock.”
Averett said he had supporting evidence but declined to share more details.
“I’m already looking like the bad guy,” said Averett, listed in police records as 6-7 and 267 pounds.
“I know my word, it don’t matter right now. … I’m just the big and bad guy.”
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino declined to comment Wednesday.
Athletic director Vince Tyra issued a statement that says administrators “take these charges seriously.”
“Kemari Averett was immediately suspended from the football team for the issues stemming from his arrest on Monday, Oct. 15,” Tyra said.
“We take these charges seriously. We cannot speak to specifics on any subsequent accusations, however. The athletic department acts upon information as it is provided to us by the university or law enforcement.”
He added: “If the university notifies us of information that necessitates action, we act. We did not have information that would have suspended (him) from competition.”
Averett was suspended indefinitely by the team Oct. 16 after his arrest and was barred from athletic facilities.
The Courier Journal does not typically identify sexual assault victims.
The alleged rape victim said she went to Averett’s home at the Clubhouse Apartments near campus at 4 a.m. on the day of the alleged assault, according to university records.
While she was at work, she noticed Averett was posting “sad things” on Snapchat that hinted of suicidal thoughts, she told authorities. They talked before she went to the apartment. Once there, she fell asleep in his bed with her clothes on.
She told police that about three hours later, she was overpowered, pinned down and raped by Averett. She told him “no” at least three times, she told authorities.
“I told him very firmly that I didn’t come there to have sex with him,” she told authorities, adding that Averett persisted. She said she continued “to tell him no and to stop.”
She said he wrestled her, removed her clothing and raped her. He showered and then threatened her, saying they were going to have sex again, she said.
After she refused, Averett kicked her out of his apartment, she told police.
She reported the incident to an on-campus sexual assault crisis center the same day. She was examined by a certified sexual assault nurse and a rape kit was prepared, records show.
The university opened a case and issued a no-contact order on Oct. 8 between the woman and Averett. The order barred “direct personal contact, phone or other electronic communication, and contact through others.”
It was unclear Wednesday night why the no-contact order preceded her filing the report.
“Should you violate this directive, charges will be filed against you under the Code of Student Conduct. I hope this type of action will not be necessary,” the order states. It was signed by Shirley Hardy, a Louisville student conduct officer.
Louisville spokesman John Karman told the Courier Journal on Wednesday night he could not confirm the existence of a university or police investigation into sexual assault allegations against Averett or provide any comment due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
That is a federal law that provides privacy protections for students’ education records.
Phone calls to Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi were not returned.
Aubrey Williams, Averett’s lawyer in the gun case, told the Courier Journal he was not aware of the rape allegations.
“There is nothing I can say,” he said.
Williams is to appear in court with Averett on Thursday for his preliminary hearing in the gun case.
In the separate, gun-related incident on Oct. 16, Averett was arrested outside his apartment after campus police said he held a gun to a different woman’s head and threatened to kill her.
Averett was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and fourth-degree assault. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.
During a court appearance last week, Ward argued Averett was overcharged because the weapon was a BB gun, not a firearm. Averett was released Thursday from a city jail under a home-incarceration program. He is only allowed to travel between home and class.
Court records show the woman Averett allegedly threatened with the gun was granted a restraining order against him on Oct. 18.
Averett, a native of Atlanta, was in trouble with the law before he joined the Louisville program in 2017.
In 2014, he was accused of using a gun to steal a cell phone in Atlanta. He spent three months in a regional youth detention center and nine days in Fulton County Jail. Then 17, Averett pleaded guilty to lesser charges of disorderly conduct and possession of a handgun.
Court records from Georgia show that Averett was on probation for those charges until Sept. 19 of this year.
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