CHAPEL HILL North Carolina football player Allen Artis has been suspended from the team indefinitely after warrants were taken out against him by a university student in connection with an alleged sexual assault at UNC’s athletic dormitory.The reserve junior linebacker is accused of sexual assault and misdemeanor assault on a female during an incident in Ram Village last Feb. 14.According to team spokesman Kevin Best, the suspension was handed down in accordance with a UNC policy that mandates an immediate, indefinite suspension for any athlete charged with a misdemeanor. Artis, who was not at practice Tuesday, can only be reinstated upon approval of athletic director Bubba Cunningham, coach Larry Fedora and university officials.”We are aware of the misdemeanor charges against Allen Artis,” Fedora said in a statement. “I can not comment on either the allegation or the investigative process. We take these matters very seriously and are fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities.”The charges against Artis came to light on Tuesday when fellow UNC student Delaney Robinson announced at a Raleigh press conference that she had taken out a self-sworn warrant against the 6-foot-1, 215-pound football player. Robinson, an 18-year-old Apex native, originally reported the incident as soon as it took place, but despite her cooperation during a six-month investigation into the matter, no charges were filed.Upset with what her lawyer Denise W. Branch described as “inaction and indifference” from UNC’s Department of Public Safety and a “blatant disregard for the new sexual assault policy” of the university’s Title IX office, Robinson has now decided to pursue the case on her own.Although Artis is a football player, both Robinson and her lawyer stopped short of alleging that his status as a scholarship athlete factored into the university’s handling of the case or its decision not to press charges against him.”There are statistics that show that could be true,” Robinson said. “But there are cases where there’s not an athlete involved and there’s still people being discriminated against. So it’s hard to say.””I don’t know if they’re treating it this way because he’s an athlete or because it would be another statistic of a rape that occurred on campus,” Branch added.Unlike a recent scandal at Baylor in which cases of sexual abuse by members of the football program were systematically covered up or ignored by the football coach and other athletic officials, that does not appear to have happened in this instance.Branch said that her client’s intent, other than having her alleged attacker “held accountable for his actions,” is to call attention to problems and bring about substantive change to UNC’s public safety and Title IX departments.”We have not gone to anyone in the athletic department to notify them,” Branch said. “We depended on the university to actually take appropriate steps to notify those individuals that needed to be informed. We cooperated thoroughly with the Department of Public Safety and did not go outside the bounds of communication. We provided the information that we were asked to provide and didn’t disseminate further than the reach we were asked to.”If convicted of the two misdemeanor charges, Artis could face up to 180 days in jail depending on the judge’s discretion.The native of Marietta, Ga., has played sparingly in the Tar Heels’ first two games this season, making one tackle while playing mostly on special teams.
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