UF's Rainey won't face prosecution on stalking charge

Florida coach Urban Meyer says the receiver is not on the team and will not play Saturday against Alabama.


Chris Rainey

Rob C. Witzel/ Staff Photographer
Published: Monday, September 27, 2010 at 12:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 27, 2010 at 10:57 p.m.

Gator wide receiver Chris Rainey will not face prosecution on a stalking charge if he stays out of trouble with the law for six months, performs 10 hours of community service and undergoes an anger-management evaluation and possible counseling, under an agreement reached Monday with State Attorney Bill Cervone.

But head football coach Urban Meyer said earlier Monday that Rainey would not play in Saturday's game against Alabama.

"Chris Rainey is still not a part of this team," Meyer said. "He's definitely out this week."

Rainey has six catches and a touchdown this season. He also served as the team's primary punt returner before suffering a concussion against South Florida in the Sept. 11 game at Florida Field.

Rainey was arrested Sept. 14 for sending a text message that said "Time to Die (expletive)" to a woman he had dated. He was suspended from the team after the arrest.

While Rainey had faced a third-degree felony charge of aggravated stalking, Cervone said in a written statement that he lowered the charge to a misdemeanor to better reflect the facts of the case. The victim said "she was more annoyed than threatened" and did not want prosecution, Cervone said.

"I am not going to consider any request that the case be dropped in its entirety, however, because I am concerned when young people act in this way and believe that we should intervene at least to the point of forcing a cooling off period and some professional counseling on anger management and related coping skills," he said.

The victim in the case also released a statement, which said she had known Rainey for three years and he had not displayed violent or threatening behavior in that time.

"His actions that night were out of character for reasons unknown to us, which is why we stood up in court on his behalf," the victim said.

Under the deferred prosecution agreement, Rainey will need to meet a series of conditions to avoid prosecution on the charge. In addition to refraining from violating any laws or ordinances, he will need to pay $50 to the State Attorney's Office for the prosecution costs and donate $100 to Peaceful Paths, a domestic abuse network.

In his statement, Cervone said that such an agreement is typical in cases involving first-time offenders. Rainey was being treated as a first-time offender due to a lack of a criminal history other than an unrelated driver's license charge that was resolved without a conviction.

Deferred prosecution is a system that has been offered to hundreds of first-time offenders in Alachua County over the past decade, according to Spencer Mann, spokesman for the State Attorney's office.

"We typically see people who are charged with things like underage drinking or public urination and an extremely high number of those are young offenders, which is to be expected given the nature of the university community," Mann said.

"But this is not something offered exclusively to young people."

Mann said only a small number of people who agree to a deferred prosecution fail to complete the agreement.

"I can probably count on two hands the number of people who fail to complete this," Mann said. "It's usually for not doing their community service or not paying the fine or getting into trouble for something else."

Once someone completes a deferred prosecution, the charges are dropped, but the court file remains a public record and those involved will still have an arrest record, but not a conviction record.

"A deferred prosecution shows you are interested in resolving the hole you have dug yourself into," Mann said.

Staff writer Robbie Andreu contributed to this report. Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or crabben@gvillesun.com and Karen Voyles at 359-5656 or voylesk@gvillesun.com.

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