Lawsuit filed by teen cleared in Prosper sexual assault

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 30 at 5:23 PM

Darius McClinton-Hunter, the 17-year-old son of Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Collin County against those who accused him of sexual assault last year.

According to Larry Friedman, the lawyer representing Hunter, “the suit seeks to recover damages against the girls and the parents of the girls who made the false accusations of sexual assault against Darius that falsely branded as a 'criminal,' ruined his reputation, sent him to an Alternative School for a year, got him kicked off the Prosper High School Football Team and banned from High School Sports.”

McClinton-Hunter is seeking monetary relief over $10 million to recover "all actual, consequential, and incidental damages caused by the defamation/slander," and another $30 million in punitive damages, according to the suit.

On February 13, a Collin County grand jury chose not to pursue sexual assault charges against Darius McClinton-Hunter, one of four Prosper teens who was charged with sexual assault following their arrest in May 2012.

The 18-page lawsuit claims Hunter was slandered and defamed by the sexual assault allegations. The lawsuit is anything but typical. It's filled with colorful subtitles such as "Fast Times at Prosper High" and "Can't Stop Won't Stop Cause We, We Get Down Baby," and the preliminary statement in the lawsuit quotes a Michael Jackson song.

"A famous singer and song writer once said in his song titled 'Billie Jean' - And mother always told me, 'Be careful who you love And be careful what you do, cause the lie becomes the truth,'" the suit said.

The preliminary statement goes on to say "sexual assault is a horrible crime, but false accusations of sexual assault are every bit as horrible."

The suit details what happened at a Prosper apartment on May 4, 2012, through the eyes of the McClinton-Hunter, 18.

McClinton-Hunter claims his main accuser, described as "O.T.," followed him into a closet and started kissing him. They then went into a bathroom. According to the lawsuit, "While Darius was leaning on the bathroom counter, O.T. walked up to him and approached him romantically again." The entire time, an adult, described as Chris J's step-dad, was home.

"We believe, at this point, all the relevant witnesses hadn't been interviewed," said Larry Friedman, Hunter’s attorney. "Only select witnesses had been interviewed, and made part of the investigation."

The lawsuit claims three girls and their parents made false sexual assault allegations against Hunter, ruining his chances for college football scholarships and an NFL career. In his junior year, Hunter received scholarship offers from SMU, Texas Tech, Utah and West Virginia. His attorney says those opportunities are gone forever.

"This is about a young man whose life was destroyed," said Ed Butowsky, a family spokesman. "Yes, he's a great football player. But he's also a better person."

The lawsuit contends the damage done to Hunter's rep was on a global scale because the story about the sex allegations went viral in minutes, as it says, "from Collin County to Capetown."

It also takes a shot at the Prosper Police Department.

The suit says, "there may have been other motives for the pursuit of standout African-American young boys by an all-white police department, in a town where African-Americans are a distinct minority."

The lawsuit will be heard in Judge Angela Tucker's State District Court. Tucker is the only African-American judge in Collin County.

After their arrest in May 2012, McClinton-Hunter and 17-year-old Garrick White, along with two juveniles, were charged with sexual assault of a child. A third juvenile was charged with unlawful restraint of a child.

White was indicted for a lesser charge, unlawful restraint of a child, after he was originally charged with sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony that carries a sentence of two-to-20 years in prison. Unlawful restraint of a child is a state jail felony, which carries a possible sentence of 180 days to two years.

None of the juveniles in the case were indicted.

Authorities said they believed McClinton-Hunter and White had recorded recorded the alleged sexual assault on their cell phones and showed it to others, calling themselves "Team Snapback."

McClinton-Hunter's attorneys said in a press conference last May they had a 10-minute portion of a phone conversation between a family friend of McClinton-Hunter and the 16-year-old accuser that proved their client's innocence.

"I talked with Torii, who's at spring training with the Tigers, I spoke with him just after we got the results and he was ecstatic," he said in the May press conference. "Darius was overcome with emotion. He was very happy and, hopefully, things can move on now."

There was no comment on the case Wednesday from the Collin County District Attorney's Office. The Prosper Police Department issued a statement that said, "The grand jury has spoken and the decision speaks for itself. White, if convicted, could spend up to two years in prison."

"They have spent hundreds of hours investigating kids having sex," said Mitch Nolte, an attorney representing one of the juveniles who was charged, "and none of it was a crime, according to the girls themselves."

Lon Garner, who represents another juvenile who was no-billed, has a hard time understanding why White was indicted.

"It concerns me that the case involving Mr. White, he was not in the room alone," Garner said. "There was another child in the room with him and the female. How is one of them no-billed when they both had the same activity? It doesn't make sense."

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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