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Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown accused in lawsuit of raping former trainer

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown was accused of sexual assault, including forcible rape, by his former trainer in a federal lawsuit filed in Florida Tuesday.

Brown, 31, allegedly hired gymnast Britney Taylor, who he knew from attending Central Michigan University, to be his personal trainer in June 2017, according to the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida and seen by NBC News. Taylor, 28, alleges that Brown sexual assaulted her twice that month and then again in May 2018.

Darren Heitner, an attorney for Brown, denied all accusations against his client in a statement Tuesday evening.

"Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit," Heitner said in a statement. "He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations."

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In June 2017, Brown allegedly flew Taylor to his home in Pittsburgh for a training trip and did not book her a hotel, the lawsuit alleges. Taylor claims that while she was getting dressed in a bathroom in his home, Brown walked in with his penis exposed.

As Taylor covered her eyes and attempted to leave the bathroom, Brown allegedly grabbed and kissed her without her consent, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said that Taylor "willed herself to brush off the episode," hoping to maintain a professional relationship with the then-Pittsburgh Steelers player.

Later that month, Brown allegedly assaulted Taylor again while the pair watched a church service on her iPad on a training trip in Miami.

"Unbeknownst to Ms. Taylor, while she was focused on the religious video, Brown began masturbating behind her," the lawsuit said. "Before she knew it or understood what was happening, Brown ejaculated on her."

Taylor alleges that Brown bragged about the incidents in text messages, calling her a "weak bitch," in screenshots included in the lawsuit.

The 28-year-old gymnast cut off contact with Brown after the incident until he contacted her in 2018 to apologize, according to the lawsuit. She began working for Brown again in April 2018, training him during off-season weekends.

Taylor alleges that in May 2018, a month after working with Brown again, the NFL player raped her after a night out with friends at a club in Miami. She allegedly drove Brown and another football player back to Brown's house for the evening and went to use the restroom when the assault allegedly occurred, according to the lawsuit.

She alleges in the lawsuit that Brown asked to speak with her in his bedroom and after they chatted for a few minutes, Brown then cornered her and pulled her down on the bed as she attempted to leave. Taylor accused Brown of forcibly raping her while she attempted to physically fight him off and tell him no.

"Although she had to return to Brown's Miami home to retrieve some personal belongings, she ceased working for Brown thereafter," the lawsuit said.

In a statement given to NBC News by her lawyer, David L. Haas, Taylor said that deciding to speak out was an incredibly difficult decision.

"I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault," Taylor said in the statement. "Speaking out removes the shame that I have felt for the past year and places it on the person responsible for my rape."

Haas would not comment on if Taylor had contacted police about any of the alleged assaults.

Heitner claims that Taylor reached out to Brown in 2017 to solicit the wide receiver for a $1.6 million "investment" in a business project and cut off contact with him after Brown refused. The lawyer also claims that Taylor reached out to Brown again in 2018 and offered to train him for the upcoming season.

"Thereafter, the accuser engaged Mr. Brown in a consensual personal relationship," the lawyer's statement said. "Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual."

Brown officially signed with the New England Patriots Monday afternoon after being released by the Oakland Raiders just days earlier for getting into a heated argument with the team's general manager Mike Mayock.

The Patriots on Tuesday said it was aware of the allegations against Brown.

"We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio's representatives," the team said in a statement. "We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place."

source: CNBC

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