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Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson accused of sexual assault; he denies it

FILE - In this , Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 file photo, Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson carries in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Norman, Okla. (Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)
FILE - In this , Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 file photo, Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson carries in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Norman, Okla. (Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)
By Cliff Brunt and Tim Talley Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY – A woman who filed a petition for a protective order against Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson is accusing him of sexually assaulting her in her apartment and says she fears for her safety.

The petition filed against Anderson on Monday alleges the Sooners’ rushing leader forced himself on the woman last month and that she remembers “feeling like (she) couldn’t get away.”

Anderson’s attorney said in a statement Tuesday that the allegations are “patently false” and that Anderson is “shocked and disturbed” by them.

“Mr. Anderson did not, nor would he ever, force himself on any woman,” according to the statement released by attorney Derek Chance of Oklahoma City. A hearing on the protective order is scheduled for Dec. 18.

The University of Oklahoma has a shaky reputation for how it has handled issues involving players and misconduct against women.

The school suspended linebacker Frank Shannon for the 2014 season after a violation of the school’s Title IX policy, which covers sexual misconduct, but he returned to play the next year.

Running back Joe Mixon was suspended for a year after he punched a woman in the face in July 2014. He played two seasons, but after video of the incident was released last year, many said the punishment wasn’t severe enough. Then-coach Bob Stoops said that if the assault had happened at the time, Mixon would have been kicked off the team. He said times were different when the event occurred.

Oklahoma has yet to make any decisions regarding Anderson’s status.

The petition for protective order says Anderson, 21, walked the woman home on Nov. 16 after meeting her for the first time at a bar and drinking. The woman said she was planning to use Uber but that Anderson’s friends insisted he take her home.

She said she initially remembered kissing Anderson and vomiting. But while talking with a friend last weekend, the woman said, she “started recalling images and feelings” of him digitally penetrating her and biting her, then “trying to get away from him to put clothes on.”

“He followed me asking what I thought I was doing,” the woman wrote in the petition. “He knows where I live and I’m scared for my safety – this happened in my apartment.”

In his statement, Chance said the woman sought the protective order after she had attempted to pursue a relationship with Anderson and he “declined several social invitations” from her.

“While we can only speculate as to (the woman’s) motives in seeking a civil protective order, her claims surfaced only after Mr. Anderson did not reciprocate a desire to pursue a relationship with (the woman),” the statement said.

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted without their permission to publish their name.

OU officials said Tuesday they are aware of the allegations and are working with the Norman Police Department, which is leading the investigation.

“The university takes seriously all allegations of misconduct and is continuing to collect information in this matter,” the school said in a statement.

A scandal at Baylor drew attention to misconduct issues in college football. An internal investigation last year determined that the school mishandled sexual assault claims for years. Football coach Art Briles was fired and university president Ken Starr was demoted and later resigned.

In July, Michigan State players Josh King, Donnie Corley Jr. and Demetric Vance were dismissed from the university for violating the school’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy. They had been dismissed from the football team in June after criminal charges against them were made public.

Anderson has been one of Oklahoma’s breakout stars this year. He had season-ending injuries the past two years, then started slowly this season before becoming one of the nation’s most productive backs the second half of the season. He leads the Sooners with 960 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns and has 283 yards and five touchdowns receiving. Oklahoma plays Georgia in a national semifinal on Jan. 1.

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