This Friday, cornerback Gareon Conley received a new contract. By next Friday, he could be indicted for sexual assault.
Ed Gallek of FOX8 News in Cleveland reports that the rape investigation involving the Raiders’ first-round pick is “wrapping up,” and that a grand jury could decide whether to charge Conley “in days.”
If a grand jury does indeed take up the case, and if the prosecutor (who presents evidence without Conley’s lawyer having the benefit of rebutting it) applies any amount of effort, an indictment will be likely, given the low “probable cause” standard for returning what the law calls a “true bill” of charges. And that will plunge Conley, the Raiders, and the NFL into a mess, with the team and the league sure to face relentless public pressure to not allow a player facing formal rape charges to play until the charges are resolved.
It’s currently unknown whether Conley agreed in his rookie contract to, for example, a term that would allow the Raiders to place him on paid leave if charged, or that would allow them to recoup bonus money or stop future payments if convicted.
Regardless, the fact that a grand jury will be resolving the issue enhances significantly the possibility that Conley won’t be quickly and cleanly exonerated.