Former NCAA and NFL football player Justin Crawford has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
According to the Ledger-Enquirer, Crawford, 23, was facing up to 25 years to life in prison but reached a plea deal on Tuesday which saw three felony charges dropped.
He will also serve 8 years of probation after his release and will register as a sex offender, which will prohibit him from making contact with the victim or her family, as well as, anyone under 18, including his two children.
Columbus Police Detective Mark Scruggs, while testifying in a preliminary hearing in October last year, revealed that Crawford’s wife walked in on him in her living room, standing over the 12-year-old girl naked with an erection around 5 am.
After realizing his wife had seen him, he ran to the kitchen and covered himself. She subsequently went back to bed.
In a later conversation with the Ledger-Enquirer, his wife denied he had an erection but admitted his penis was exposed. She added that Crawford denied any wrongdoing after she confronted him, claiming that he ran to the kitchen because she scared him.
When his wife, however, took the victim to her mother and was asked about the incident, the 12-year-old said that she was sleeping when Crawford woke her up and forced her to perform oral sex on him. She added that they had intercourse afterwards.
Crawford denied any sexual activity with the victim when he was subsequently questioned by the police. He, however, later confessed to both acts, claiming that the intercourse was the 12-year-old’s idea, Scruggs said.
He was subsequently arrested and charged with incest, sodomy and enticing a child for indecent purposes, AJC.com reports.
Crawford’s attorney, Michael Eddings, claimed he wasn’t in the right frame of mind as a result of being depressed after missing out on an opportunity to join the Falcons team due to an injury.
Without using it as justification for Crawford’s actions, Eddings added that it explains his “mental state,” according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
“He’s going to carry this for the rest of his life,” Eddings said.
Crawford apologized to the victim, her parents and his family on Tuesday.