Florida WR Rainey agrees to plea deal

By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida

receiver Chris Rainey, kicked off the team after being charged with

aggravated stalking two weeks ago, agreed to a plea deal on a

misdemeanor charge Monday.

The State

Attorney’s Office and Rainey’s attorney said the player agreed to

perform 10 hours of community service or pay $100 to a domestic

violence shelter. He also must undergo evaluation and any required

counseling for anger management and domestic violence issues.

If Rainey completes those requirements and stays out of trouble for six months, the charge will be dismissed.

Florida coach Urban Meyer said Monday that Rainey was still “not part

of the team.” Asked whether Rainey definitely would not play Saturday

against top-ranked Alabama, Meyer said, “This week? Oh, yeah.”

Rainey, one of Florida’s more dynamic offensive players, was arrested

Sept. 14 and charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony.

He allegedly sent a woman a threatening text message that read, in

part, “Time to die ….”

The victim, who used to date Rainey, said in court she did not want him prosecuted.

“Although I believe that probable cause existed for a felony charge

because the facts involve an at least arguable threat, which is within

the legal definition of felony stalking, the defendant was never in a

position to have acted on that threat and there is little if anything

in his actions that night or in his background to suggest that he would

have done so,” State Attorney Bill Cervone said in a statement.

“Misdemeanor stalking is legally the more appropriate charge when no

imminent danger was perceived or can be proven beyond a reasonable

doubt, and the harassing contact, not done in person, occurred in a

short, compressed time period.”

The victim, who requested anonymity, said she was in “full support” of the state’s decision to reduce the charge.

“We have known Chris Rainey for three years and never during that time

has he displayed any violent or threatening behavior towards us or

anyone,” she said. “To our knowledge, Chris does not drink alcohol or

use drugs. His actions that night were out of character for reasons

unknown to us, which is why we stood up in court on his behalf. The

police were called that night to ensure the safety of everyone

involved.”

According to Gainesville

Police, the woman fell asleep and missed a call from Rainey. Rainey

then went to her home, they talked and she told him to leave. According

to police, the woman got the text a short time later and called 911.

Rainey, from nearby Lakeland, has six receptions and a touchdown this

season. He also served as the team’s primary punt returner.

Received 09/27/10 02:17 pm ET