By Rodney K. Hays
Prosper senior Darius Hunter last week filed a lawsuit against his former accusers in a sexual assault case seeking up to $40 million in damages.
In May of 2012, two girls said that Hunter and three other Prosper teenagers forced them to have sex. According to Hunter’s attorneys one of the girls recanted her statement in a taped phone interview about 48 hours after Hunter was arrested. In February the grand jury declined to indict Hunter.
Larry Friedman, an attorney representing McClinton-Hunter, told the USA Today that the possibility of legal action was still open against the Prosper (Texas) Police Department, which, Friedman claims, "investigated a crime that didn’t exist for over a year after the accuser recanted her complaint."
Another case is still pending for Garrick White, another teen who was accused in the case and is being tried as an adult on a count of alleged unlawful restraint.
The Hunter lawsuit was filed in Collin County 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."
Hunter, who played running back and a defensive back for the Prosper Eagles football team as a junior, was being recruited by several Division I schools, including Texas Tech, SMU, Utah, LSU and others. After the arrest, the scholarship offers disappeared. Hunter was also forced to attend a school for juvenile delinquents and was not allowed to play football his senior year. He was allowed to return to Prosper High School after the grand jury declined to indict him but he cannot participate in extra curricular activities.
According to the USA Today article, McClinton-Hunter is the lone plaintiff in the lawsuit, and there are eight defendants, including three minors and their parents.
"To this day, nobody has taken responsibility - not the girl, not the Prosper Police Department, not the district attorney," Friedman said in the article. "No one has taken responsibility for what they’ve done to this young man. No one’s said sorry."
"In today’s world, these types of things go viral in a minute. There are millions of stories out there accusing him of sexual assault that can never be erased. You can never erase those allegations. He will live to be 100 years old, barring something unforeseen. For the next 80 years those allegations will be there. The impact of this is tremendous."
Hunter’s dad, Torii Hunter, who plays outfield for the Detroit Tigers told the Lansing State Journal that "It’s not about the football, it’s not about none of that," Torii Hunter said. "It’s about my son’s reputation. My son missed his senior year of school at an alternative school, at a jail school. He don’t get in trouble and he’s gotta go to a jail school and walk with his hands behind his back? It’s embarrassing."
Hunter also told the Journal his son’s social life has been affected as a result.
"It was false accusations, but I’m not just going to let this go," Hunter said. "This is my son, so I’m going to fight for him."
Hunter said his son is signed to play college football at Southeastern Louisiana and is now back at Prosper.
"I’m not backing down, I’m not going to leave, I’m not going to let it go because his reputation is ruined," Hunter said. "Somebody’s going to pay for that."
The suit seeks $10 million in actual damages and punitive damages that run the total to about $40 million.