Pee Dee

Charges dropped against Coker College soccer player accused of rape

HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – The charges have been dropped against a Coker College soccer player accused of raping a woman in a dorm room bathroom.

According to Hartsville Police Lt. Mark Blair, the 19-year-old man, whose name is being redacted from this story, was originally charged with criminal sexual conduct first degree and kidnapping. The man’s accuser, later identified as Lauren Emily Pearson, was arrested Thursday night for filing a false police report.

Pearson told officers Sunday morning that she was pulled into a dorm room bathroom by the alleged attacker, pushed to the bottom of a shower and raped.

Hartsville Police Lt. Mark Blair confirms Pearson faces a charge of filing false police report of a felony.

Hartsville City Manager Natalie Zeigler confirms the criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping charge against the man have been dropped.

The man’s lawyer, Paul v. Cannarella, released a statement Friday morning saying his law firm began conducting an independent investigation into the allegations on which his client was arrested. The man accused of rape told police and his lawyer that he and the woman did have “consensual sex in a dorm bathroom.”

The attorney claims his investigation revealed witnesses who said his client and Pearson were seen “making out” before leaving the dorm room.

“The police have confirmed through local media outlets that Ms. Pearson was, in fact, the complaining party to the rape allegations against my client,” Cannarella said in a press release.

Cannarella said his client’s family was forced to travel to Hartsville from out of state, incur expenses for bail bonds and legal representation.

“Regrettably, this same family was forced to clean out his dorm room after he was banned from campus, removed from the soccer team and suspended from school after his release from jail,” the lawyer states. “These false allegations should cause society to pause when they hear on the news or read on the internet that a person has been charged with a crime. Folks are quick to convict based simply on allegations, which oftentimes, just as here, are later proven to be false.”


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