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“I knew I had to step in and do something,” Florida linebacker remembers crucial advice before stopping sexual assault

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In light of recent events, it was something university officials and city leaders thought was necessary.

Football players for the University of Florida heard from a Gainsville prosecutor after he met with the team to talk about sexual assault.

It’s something Cristian Garcia, a linebacker on the team, never thought he would need to know.

However, that lesson has since put him in the spotlight.

Garcia spotted a man and a woman having sex behind a dumpster outside the bar where he works.

Leroyea Simmons, Garcia’s coworker, says he spotted the couple surrounded by a group of people, who claimed to be friends of the two, which led him to believe that they were watching out for her.

When he spotted her panties and pants on the ground, he began recording the attack on his cell phone and ran to find help in the form of Garcia.

Christopher Lee Shaw, 34, told Garcia and Simmons that the victim was his girlfriend.

At that moment, Garcia says he remembered something from that Gainsville prosecutor.

“I distinctly remember him saying if a woman is drugged or intoxicated that she cannot give consent and therefore you cannot have any sexual relations with her,” Garcia told CNN. “The girl’s body was pretty much limp so I knew I had to step in and do something.”

He grabbing the victim, brought her into the bar and called police.

At that point, both men realized what was really going on with the group of people outside.

“They didn’t even know her. They were lying to cover for him,” Simmons said. “They were going to let him do that.”

Shaw was arrested on a felony count of sexual battery and is being held in the Alachua County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Christopher Shaw

Christopher Shaw

Simmons turned the video over to police, which clearly shows the victim was unable to give consent because she couldn’t even hold her head up, the report said.

 

“You should know as a man not to have sex with a woman if she’s intoxicated,” Garcia said. “I hope the message people understand is that everybody’s capable of doing something. Don’t just sit there and stand around and expect someone else to do something.”

The incident shows the importance of educating people on what constitutes sexual assault and consent, said Daniel Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. The center focuses on using sports and athletes to promote social justice through training and education programs.

“The fact that a prosecutor spoke to him and it empowered him to make a decision shows that any kind of education is better than none,” Lebowitz said. “We want people to do the right thing but we need to give them tool kit or skill set to do it.”