Florida WR Chris Rainey arrested for stalking

Florida Gators redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking by Gainesville Police early Tuesday morning.

According to the police report, Rainey contacted a local woman he had been dating sporadically for approximately three years and allegedly visited her home when she did not answer a phone call. When she did not come to the door immediately, Rainey began calling and texting her, eventually allegedly saying, “I’m here and I will bust out the window.” After speaking to him for about 10 minutes, she asked him to leave, later receiving a text message from Rainey which read, “Time to die, b—h.”

Fearing for her sibling’s safety, the woman’s sister called the police, who instructed her to call Rainey to tell him that the officers wished to speak with him. Upon receiving that call, Rainey allegedly told the woman, “Wait and see what happens when they leave.” He was subsequently arrested when officers visited his on-campus residence.

Rainey, charged with a third-degree felony, admitted to sending the text message but not to making the latter statement. After spending the night in jail, he was released on his own recognizance by Alachua County Judge Denise R. Ferrero just before 11 a.m. with a warning not to contact the woman. Ferrero also ordered Rainey to maintain a curfew of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. with an exception for school or work.

“I don’t think this is a felony for sure,” Rainey’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, told the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday afternoon. “I think that we can come to a resolution that will minimize any long term consequences for Mr. Rainey. I don’t think the lady was ever in any danger, and I know Mr. Rainey and I think he’s a hell of a nice young man and I assure you that he would never hurt this woman.”

“It’s not near as bad as it looks,” Johnson said separately to the Palm Beach Post. “I think that this is going to end up being a minor bump in the road for Chris. In the long run, it would be appropriate, based on what I know, for him to be back on the team at some point this season. I’d be surprised if he’s not. I think it means an awful lot to him to be a student at Florida and it means a hell of a lot to be a player. He’s still a student at Florida, but he’s not on the team, so he has mixed feelings.”

Johnson also spoke to the Associated Press about Rainey, calling him a “terrific kid who works his rear end off” both academically and athletically. “My early sense is this will be something less than a third-degree felony,” he said. “I think this will turn out to be what I think this is, which is something minor. I don’t think that the statute was intended for this kind of thing. [...] I think this is something that will pass. He never intended for this to happen nor would he ever hurt this woman. He cares deeply about this woman. He didn’t handle it like he should have. He knows that. Hopefully this will end up being a bump in the road.”

In court on Tuesday, the woman said she neither feared for her safety nor intended to have Rainey arrested when she called the police. “We just needed someone to diffuse the situation. I did not want to have him arrested last night. When the police came, I signed papers to not press any charges,” she said. “I don’t fear for my safety. I think he should be released on his own recognizance. [...] People all over the country have been calling my cell phone. I’m not afraid of him. I’m more afraid of all the repercussions.”

Aggravated stalking, as defined by Florida state law, is charged to “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person, and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury of the person.”

Under the Florida statute, a third-degree felony aggravated battery charge carries with it a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine (plus court costs).

Tuesday afternoon, Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio spoke about the player’s status. “Chris Rainey is not a part of our team right now,” Addazio said.

OGGOA will continue updating this story. Last update: 7:45 p.m.

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57 Responses to “Florida WR Chris Rainey arrested for stalking”

  1. Sara says:

    Mr2Bits: I respect your right to disagree with me but are you seriously comparing pulling a gun on someone to an angry text message? Seriously?

    I’m not saying that he “did it thinking he wouldn’t get caught” or that that’s an excuse. All I’m saying is before we crucify this kid and pin him with a 3rd degree felony that will haunt him or the rest of his life (for a crime that doesn’t even fit the situation…stalking, by definition woul have required him to have been repeatedly harassing her), let’s take a look at what really happened. He got angry, he was probably hurt and upset and not in a good emotional place and he said something stupid. It was wrong but does it really deserve jail time and forerver changing his life??! I don’t think so.

  2. Gatormiami says:

    I agree with Sara! Unfortunately, Urban has set penalties very high with the revocation of scholarship & long absence from team for a DUI as a 1st offense. I think he’s locked in to a very tough penalty for Rainey…. suspension for the year at minimum!

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    Sara : What he did was exactly stalking. Nobody is “pinning” him with anything. He self-admitted to sending her life-threatening text messages and going to her house to confront her. This is 2010, you cannot say crap to people like this and never expect it to possibly come back to you. If someone ever says they are going to kill you when they are enraged, I would hope you would not take it lightly or else you have allot to learn and hopefully it’s not the hard way.

    Here is the definition for your reference, you might want to brush up on some laws or you might find yourself in a bind if you think it’s no big deal.

    Definition : In Florida, the definition of stalking includes a series of actions that placeds an additional person in fear for their safety. Stalkers begin with repeated, bothersome behavior toward an additional person or celebrity by means of the Internet, personal contact, telephone, cell phone, email, facsimile, or other methods of communication. When this unwanted behavior persists, it is deemed stalking and punishable by Florida Law.

  4. zach says:

    to quote u mr.2bits “…stalkers begin with repeated, bothersome behavior towards an addional person or celebrity…” key word repeated he only dis this in one instance. at most he should be charged with disterbing the peace the woman said in her own words she felt like she was not in harms way at all. no fear for her own saftey. you have no idea the stress these players are under and yes they may snap from time to time. and he did but he deos not deserve to be punished in this way.

  5. Wingtee says:

    Sara do you seriously want Rainey representing the UF football team? After all the other arrests prior to this one? This guy has got to go . When will the message ever be sent Sara that you are not some dumb kid that is oblivious to the law an d in the back of your mind something has to click and say I represent the Gator football team? After all the stuff that has happend and he still does not get it? No way he should be around the team. I don’t buy into the college kids doing dumb things theory. He was supposedly intelligent enough to attend UF. No excuses … Next

  6. wordsthattell says:

    Chris Rainey is like many of in a moment of rebuff from a girlfriend. If we all got arrested for calling someone a bad name or making a hollow threat, the jails would all be overflowing. The kid is under tremendous pressure, not only as a student, but as a prominent athlete on a very highly-visible and media-heavy team. If this had happened at Podunk U., it wouldn’t have reached page 300 in the obits. The girl did NOT report it, her girlie ‘friend’ did. The girl said she NEVER felt threatened. Give it up and let him back with his teammates.

  7. Gatorious says:

    There are too many thugs in the sport. We need more Tebows and less negative representation. All around character counts not just having athletic skill. Should we forgive and restore, yes. But this rep is bad for the sport and kids. If the charge is bogus reinstate him, if its legit I hope Urban does the right thing for everyone.