- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - One of two charges against Tennessee defensive lineman Alexis Johnson was dismissed Thursday and the other was reduced from a felony count of aggravated assault to misdemeanor domestic assault.

Johnson’s lawyer, Gregory Isaacs, said that the domestic assault charge would be dropped in six months under an agreement reached with the Knox County District Attorney’s office. Deputy District Attorney General Kyle Hixson said that agreement is contingent upon Johnson staying out of trouble for the next six months.

“We reviewed the evidence very closely,” Hixson said. “We had multiple consultations with the alleged victim in this case. Everybody agreed that this would be the fairest way to handle the situation.”

Johnson has been suspended from team-related activities since his February arrest on charges of false imprisonment and aggravated assault. The false imprisonment charge was dismissed Thursday.

Tennessee athletic department spokesman Ryan Robinson said Thursday there is “no status change at this moment” regarding Johnson’s suspension.

University of Tennessee police say Johnson was “play fighting” with a woman in a Knoxville apartment between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Feb. 14, and that it escalated until he placed his hands around her throat two to three times. The woman told police that as she attempted to leave the bedroom, Johnson blocked the door.

The woman also told police she and Johnson had previously dated two times and she had had sex with him once.

Johnson, a 20-year-old from Atlanta, signed with Tennessee in December and enrolled at the start of the spring semester. He spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons at Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College.

The woman in this case is one of eight plaintiffs suing the University of Tennessee over its handling of assault cases. The suit alleges that Tennessee has violated Title IX policies and created a “hostile sexual environment” through a policy of indifference toward assaults by athletes.

The suit had six plaintiffs when it was filed in federal court in Nashville on Feb. 9. The woman who said Johnson assaulted her was one of two plaintiffs added to the suit two weeks later.


AP college website: collegefootball.ap.org

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