Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is facing two separate lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault, including one from an alleged incident in Lutz in January 2017.
The same week that Alabama's football team played Clemson in Tampa for a national championship, Dareus, who played for the Crimson Tide in college, rented a property called Villa Adriana for the week of the game. The 6,820-square-foot, seven-bedroom mansion goes for $1,250 a night on Airbnb.com.
Dareus was credentialed for the game as part of ESPN's broadcast coverage, posting videos on social media from Raymond James Stadium the day before the game.
The lawsuit, filed by an unnamed plaintiff in Circuit Court in Hillsborough County Circuit, states that she met Dareus at a downtown Tampa club on Jan. 7, two nights before the championship game, and was invited to an afterparty at the mansion rented by Dareus.
The party there had "10-12 strippers" and "30-40 persons in total," including other unnamed NFL players. The party had "alcohol, marijuana and cocaine open and visible" and "offered up to partygoers," according to the lawsuit.
The suit alleges that Dareus "grabbed her breast and attempted to put his hands between her legs," and that she resisted his advances and told him to stop. She had been drinking and "blacked out," but recalled being guided down a hallway to the master bedroom with Dareus behind her. She said she woke up in bed with her clothes disheveled and Dareus unclothed and asleep next to her, and "began to immediately realize that there had been sexual physical acts upon her person."
The suit states that she left the room and got a ride back to her Tampa hotel, was "emotionally distraught" and stayed in her room, flying to Los Angeles on Jan. 9. She initially kept the details of the incident private, "due to embarrassment and self-guilt."
There is no record of criminal charges being filed. Dareus is due in court Aug. 9 for a motion seeking to dismiss the lawsuit against him. He's facing a separate lawsuit from a Texas woman who accused him of having sex with her while she was unconscious and without disclosing to her that he was infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
Dareus, 28 and entering his eighth NFL season, was traded from the Bills to the Jaguars last season. He earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2014, when he had 10 sacks, and is now among the NFL's top-paid defensive tackles, thanks to a six-year, $96.5 million contract.
The Jaguars declined to comment to the Florida Times-Union on Wednesday, and the newspaper reported that an e-mail and call to Dareus' agent were not immediately returned.