Shannon's attorney speaks out

Shannon's attorney speaks out

Frank Shannon's attorney addressed the media Friday and wasn't afraid to tell his side of the story.

The fight will go on to prove his innocence – that was the message spoken loud and clear by the attorney of Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon on Friday afternoon.

“Feel like he has been painted in a way that does not reflect who he is,” attorney Aletia Timmons said.

Timmons said Shannon has not had any disciplinary action or law enforcement involvement in his life prior to this incident.

She said the university is making Shannon a “scapegoat” and that he will “stand on the sideline in silent protest” when the fourth-ranked Sooners begin their season Saturday night against Louisiana Tech.

Shannon, expected to be a starting linebacker for the Sooners, was suspended for one year by the university in June following a Title IX investigation into an alleged sexual assault incident.

The university has been unable to enforce that suspension as the legal process continues in his situation. Shannon received a stay six days after his suspension, allowing him to remain enrolled as a student and practicing.

Timmons said Shannon is still enrolled as a student and is attending all of his classes. But he is no longer practicing with the team.

When the depth chart was released Monday, Shannon was nowhere to be found and OU coach Bob Stoops offered a brief explanation.

“That situation is still unresolved and therefore I’ve got to proceed with players I know are going to be available to me through the rest of the year,” Stoops said.

Timmons said Shannon could be able to play this season, but the university is not allowing him at this time. It’s a voluntary decision by OU to not have Shannon on the field this weekend.

As the situation has progressed, Timmons said they had a talk about the possibility of Shannon transferring to another school. He shot that down.

“We had that conversation,” Timmons said. “He’s got one more year of redshirt eligibility so he can do that. He said, ‘I’m not going to run. ‘I’m not going to be branded a rapist. I’m going to stand and fight.’”

“We had that conversation,” Timmons said. “He’s got one more year of redshirt eligibility so he can do that. He said, ‘I’m not going to run. ‘I’m not going to be branded a rapist. I’m going to stand and fight.’”

He will continue to do so even if it means wasting this year of eligibility by just standing on the sidelines.

Timmons didn’t know Shannon or his family before this case. Her background is as a civil rights lawyer. The family approached her. Following a talk with Shannon, she had him polygraphed regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct. She said he passed with one of the highest scores the law enforcer had ever seen.

Timmons said Shannon refused to have sexual intercourse with a female student back in January. Charges were not filed for two reasons: insufficient evidence and the victim declined to prosecute. OU, though, is protecting itself with the way it’s handling the case.

“(We) have reason to believe the university has asked him to be removed from the depth chart,” Timmons said. “He said, ‘I will not quit. I will continue to fight to vindicate my name.’”

Timmons said last week about the possibility of unsealing the records of the case. She said the sealed records are beneficial to Shannon, but it was their hope and wish to protect the anonymity of Shannon and the alleged victim.

Unfortunately, Timmons said she has no idea the timeline of when the matter will be resolved. The state Supreme Court is on summer recess so it’s unfair to say when anything will occur.

“This is not the last step of the fight,” Timmons said.

Timmons said she understands the OU coaches are in a difficult position. She said his teammates are in support of him and said he has the support of his church community.

“My client is standing up, but it appears at this point and time he’s the only one standing up for himself,” Timmons said.

Timmons said she cannot talk to the OU coaches because the university is represented by legal counsel of its own.

Though no charges were filed, the university is required to conduct its own independent Title IX investigation under federal law.

OU’s process consisted of a Title IX inquiry and a hearing panel made up of faculty and staff and a final appeal to the chief student affairs officers.

The university found Shannon guilty of violating the school’s sexual misconduct policy and issued the one-year suspension June 18.

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