Ladarrius Divonta Jackson, 22, a defensive end for the University of South Florida Bulls, has been arrested and charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment of a female student.
The alleged incident occurred on Monday in the afternoon at one of the on-campus housing apartments. The woman immediately called university housing staff who assisted her in contacting police. Officers said Jackson and the woman are acquaintances. At the time of his arrest at Tampa International Airport eight hours later, Jackson was purportedly going home to Alabama. Police don’t believe he was fleeing the scene of a crime. Classes had ended for the semester and Jackson was going home.
If true, such behavior is reprehensible but altogether too common for student athletes. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed Baylor University, Penn State University, and Michigan State University, just to name a few, embroiled in sexual assaults on campuses that are covered up or swept under the rug (pick your favorite euphemism) in order to protect a star athlete and the reputation of an academic institution. We’re witnessing this at private schools on the high school level as well. If you have a young daughter, you have every reason to be wary of sending your female child to a boarding school or college for that matter.
I digressed a bit but wanted to make the point and make it emphatically that sexual assaults are crimes and can’t be tolerated regardless of the accused or the reputation of the school.
Now, back to the USF case, Jackson’s friends are surprised at the allegations. They note he is a quiet person and are shocked at the allegations. As in most cases of sexual assault, the evidence may be inconclusive and it will be left to who is more credible. The young woman, all things being equal, did the right thing by contacting authorities immediately leaving little room for questioning motivations or intentions later on.