Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer: Rape Case against Athlete Racial

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer: Rape Case against Athlete Racial

Article excerpt

KINGSLAND, Ga. -- A lawyer for Roland "Champ" Bailey said

yesterday the prep football star's statutory rape charge is

racially motivated.

Attorney Jim Stein said during a news conference at his office

that if the case goes to trial he plans to prove that the family

of the 15-year-old girl Bailey spent the night with was

motivated by race to pursue charges against him.

Bailey, a 17-year-old Parade All-American from Charlton County

High School in Folkston, Ga., was arrested last week after he

told police the classmate called him and sneaked out of her

house to have sex. He was charged with statutory rape and

interference with custody -- taking a child under the age of 17

from a parent's custody without permission.

"It's a racial thing," Stein said. "They [the girl's parents]

disapproved of their daughter going out with a black young man

and they made an issue of it. They apparently approved of her

going out with a young man four years older than her . . . but

when it came down to her pursuing Champ it became a problem.

It's a social issue and a moral issue."

Bailey is black; the girl and her boyfriend, 19, are white.

Stein described the incident as a family matter that has no

business in court.

"These are young folks whose lives are being destroyed by rash

acts by what I call adults who should have known better," Stein

said. "This could have been handled with the [Bailey] family,

should have been handled with the family, and the family is

still ready, able and willing to work with any person who wants

to address this thing outside the courtroom.

"If they [her family] had put the attention back where it

belongs to be, with straightening out the problems that their

child may or may not have, everyone would be better off. …

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