JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Texas woman, who identifies herself only as Jane Doe, is suing Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus over allegations that he sexually assaulted her and exposed her to a sexually transmitted disease.
According to a copy of a civil complaint filed July 6 in Duval County, the unidentified woman accuses Dareus, 28, of having sex with her while she was unconscious and without disclosing what she believes was herpes. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and damages in excess of $15,000.
News4Jax spoke with Dareus' attorney, Steve Weizenecker, who said he needed to speak with his client before issuing a statement on the allegations. Requests for comment from Dareus’ agent were forwarded to a Jaguars spokesperson, who confirmed the team is aware of the lawsuit, but declined comment.
The complaint states Dareus and his accuser went on a date in Houston April 7 that ended with them spending the night together at a hotel. It says that when the woman woke up in pain the next day, she could not recall what happened the night before, but Dareus told her they had sex.
It goes on to say that Dareus saw the woman the following two days and the pair had sex on multiple occasions. Later the same week, the complaint argues, the woman came down with symptoms of herpes and went to see a doctor, who diagnosed her with the disease.
It's unclear whether the accuser filed a criminal complaint against Dareus. News4Jax has reached out to the Houston Police Department to see if an incident report was ever filed, or if any criminal investigation into the incident took place. We are waiting on the agency’s response.
The accuser's attorneys issued a statement in response to questions from News4Jax, saying they did not know if their client ever went to the police:
"There are civil and criminal laws in both Florida and Texas that address circumstances where someone knowingly exposes another to sexually transmitted diseases. As of now, we are not aware that any criminal charges have been filed in this matter. Our focus is on protecting our client’s right to recover damages for the severe physical and emotional harm that's been caused to her."
Professional athletes are frequently the targets of unfounded allegations. Anyone can file a civil lawsuit and allege anything they want, but the plaintiff will have to show evidence in court. It’s important to note the details of the complaint are merely unsupported allegations.
Attorney Gene Nichols, who has no ties to the case, said the timing of the lawsuit and the plaintiff’s admission that the pair had consensual sex multiple times are among the factors likely to inspire skepticism about the merits of the case.
"To file a lawsuit in what is four months after the incident would leave just about anybody to question potentially the credibility and the viability of a criminal case if she’s already filing a lawsuit," said Nichols.
Hillsborough County court records show Dareus is set to appear in court on Aug. 9 for a motion to dismiss a separate complaint filed by a Las Vegas woman, who alleges she was assaulted in January 2017 at a home Dareus rented in Tampa.
Dareus saw action in nine games for the Jaguars in 2017 after the team acquired him in an Oct. 28 trade with Buffalo. The defensive tackle, who recorded a combined 29 tackles and 2 sacks last season, is set to earn $10,175,000 in 2018, according to contract details compiled by Spotrac.