CLEVELAND — Ohio State football recruit Chris Carter was arrested Tuesday on a sexual imposition allegation after a complaint that he fondled a girl while pretending to measure her for an ROTC uniform.
Police are investigating whether he might have fondled as many as eight girls. Carter's attorney refutes the charges and said his client is innocent.
Carter, a 6-foot-4, 325-pound offensive senior lineman at John F. Kennedy High School in Cleveland, was expected to sign with the Buckeyes on Wednesday, the first day recruits were able to sign Division I letters of intent to play football.
A 15-year-old girl told Cleveland police on Tuesday that Carter came to one of her classes and asked her to go with him, then told her he needed to measure her for an ROTC uniform and took her to a room behind the school's auditorium.
"Once inside the room, (Carter) asked the victim to take off her sweat shirt and shirt so he could take her measurements," the police report said. "He cut off the lights ... and stated `I need you to take your bra off.' The arrested male than put his arms under her arms from behind and attempted to pull her bra up."
The girl told police she refused and left the room, then reported the incident to school officials who contacted police
According to police, Carter told them that he had fondled other girls under the pretext of measuring them. The girl had said he had a book in which he wrote down measurements. Police said Carter provided the book and it revealed as many as eight victims.
He spent Tuesday night in Cleveland City Jail and was released Wednesday pending further investigation.
During a news conference announcing Ohio State's recruits on Wednesday afternoon, coach Jim Tressel began by saying the Buckeyes had signed 23 players "at this point."
Asked to clarify that reference, particularly as it referred to Carter, he said the class still might grow.
"I think everyone is aware that we had something pop up yesterday that we didn't know much about and we can't talk about it," he said, citing NCAA rules preventing coaches and universities from commenting about players before they have signed a letter of intent. "The only thing we're allowed to talk about today is the kids who have signed letters with us. We don't know what the situation is. It could be larger, it might not."
Carter's attorney, Harvey Bruner, said, "He is not guilty and we will proceed with it. I know that he's innocent. He's a nice kid."
Carter had verbally committed to Ohio State last March, the Buckeyes' third recruit in the 2011 recruiting class. He had also considered Toledo, Miami (Ohio) and Akron.
Bruner said he understood that the Ohio State scholarship offer was still in force.
"The mother talked to Jim Tressel," he said. "And they are just holding it open for him."