War Eagle Extra

Plaintiff drops protection request against ex-Auburn player Rice

Former Auburn football player Landon Rice
Former Auburn football player Landon Rice

The 19-year-old female plaintiff seeking a protective order of abuse against former Auburn football player Landon Rice filed a motion with the Circuit Court of Lee County late Wednesday afternoon to dismiss the request.

The plaintiff’s lawyer Jeff Herman along with recently added local counsel Michael Strickland and Philip A. Thompson filed the motion with the court Thursday morning.

A hearing in the matter had been scheduled for Oct. 4.

According to the court documents filed Wednesday, the plaintiff filed for a protective order of abuse against Rice on Sept. 12 in response to alleged harassment that extended to her family and friends.

The motion filed Thursday states the harassment subsided following the plaintiff’s request for a protective order of abuse. The plaintiff decided the protective order wouldn’t be necessary going forward when Rice allegedly indicated he would stay away from Auburn’s campus.

“The Plaintiff has not been contacted directly or indirectly by Rice. Further, through counsel, Rice has indicated he will not be present on Auburn University campus or attend any University event,” the motion states.

Rice’s attorneys also filed a motion Wednesday night denying the plaintiff's claim that their client agreed to stay off Auburn's campus.

“Counsel for Defendant has not made any such representation and in fact, to be clear, does not represent that Defendant voluntarily agrees not to be present on Auburn’s campus or attend any University events,” the motion states.

The motion prepared by Brennan also seeks to have the filing dismissed “with prejudice.”

Rice’s friends allegedly threatened the plaintiff after she filed a complaint of first-degree rape with the Auburn Police Department on July 27.

The incident allegedly happened in the late hours of April 12 in the South Donahue Residence Hall, a 209-room dorm located across the street from the athletic complex.

The motion filed Wednesday details some of the alleged harassment.

“On or about September 6, 2016, another friend of Rice’s contacted the Plaintiff one time and a friend of the Plaintiff numerous times about the matter attempting to intimidate the Plaintiff into withdrawing her complaint indicating “We will just have to go to war with this,” the motion states.

Rice’s friends allegedly distributed fliers at the plaintiff’s sorority and sent one to her parents.

“On or about September 7, 2016, numerous intimidating fliers were distributed around Auburn University, as well as on street signs around the Plaintiff’s off-campus apartment, alleging false accusations against males, quoting verses from The Bible, and directly asking the Plaintiff’s sorority sisters to convince Plaintiff to “drop her Title IX Investigation.” The Plaintiff reported this harassment to the Auburn Police Department. On Friday, September 9, 2016, Plaintiff‘s father received an anonymous letter that had been mailed to the family’s home as well as the Plaintiff’s father’s place of work, dated September 6, 2016, attempting to intimidate the Plaintiff through her father, indicating “Let me ask you a question, are you prepared for what your daughter is going to be dragged through?”

Auburn’s police department categorizes the case as “inactive,” but according to Captain Lorenza Dorsey the designation doesn’t mean the investigation is closed. Rice has not been arrested or charged.

Rice’s attorneys Augusta S. Dowd and A. Kelly Brennan issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon denying their client had anything to do with the alleged harassment outlined in the plaintiff’s motion.

“Landon recently learned that the Plaintiff requested the dismissal of the action for protection from abuse,” the statement reads. “In her dismissal request, Plaintiff identifies four times she was contacted by persons other than Landon. These contacts formed the basis for her request for a protection from abuse order. She does not and cannot link those communications to Landon. Landon, in fact, has had no direct or indirect contact with Plaintiff since June 2016. The requirements for a PFA are simply not met. Counsel have done an extensive investigation, and Landon was prepared to go forward with trial to clear his name.”

Rice’s attorneys previously issued a statement last week calling the first-degree rape charges “false allegations.” They also filed a series of motions with the court. The latest filed Tuesday sought for a jury trail and a request to rehear previous requests for a continuance and expedited discovery.

The Plaintiff’s attorney responded to Rice’s original statement by releasing alleged text messages between her and Rice. Rice allegedly apologizes for his actions in the texts and asks the plaintiff to not tell anyone about the incident.

Coach Gus Malzahn announced Rice had left the football program for “personal reasons” following the team’s game on Sept. 10 against Arkansas State.

Auburn’s athletic department and coach Gus Malzahn have declined to comment on the issue.