- Associated Press - Thursday, June 29, 2017

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Charges have been dismissed against a North Carolina football player for misdemeanor sexual battery and assault on a female student.

Allen Artis was charged in September and attorneys on both sides said last week they were preparing to go to trial in July. Instead, Orange County district attorney Jim Woodall signed a document Thursday allowing for the dismissal of the charges because “the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.”

Artis said he was thankful the case was resolved in a news conference on campus Thursday afternoon, flanked by his attorneys and joined by family members.

“I’ve lost a lot,” Artis said, pausing once to fight back tears. “My grades have suffered. I had to change my graduation date, and my post graduate plans have suffered and just career plans - like moving forward with my life, searching for a job. It’s going to be hard.”

Artis - a reserve linebacker from Marietta, Georgia - has been indefinitely suspended from the team amid the case. He said last week he is still enrolled at UNC and is “keeping my options open” about returning to football.

In a statement from the school, UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said Artis is “eligible for reinstatement” to the football program.

“Coach (Larry) Fedora and I look forward to meeting with Allen and his family soon to discuss the next steps moving forward,” Cunningham said.

According to an arrest warrant, Artis had sex with the student against her will in February 2016 when he should have known she was “mentally incapacitated and physically helpless.” The warrant also said he pulled on her bra strap “causing an indentation on her shoulder/back.”

Artis has said they had consensual sex and denied wrongdoing. His attorneys have said UNC determined he didn’t violate campus policy in his contact with the student, while a misconduct decision could have led to his expulsion.

The Associated Press typically doesn’t identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault, but the woman - Delaney Robinson - held a September news conference with her attorney Denise Branch, saying she had filed for the misdemeanor charges after police and prosecutors indicated there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue felony charges.

“The parties worked diligently at mediation to resolve this matter to their mutual satisfaction resulting in a dismissal of the charges,” Branch said in a statement. “The resolution is confidential. Delaney has suffered immeasurably and hoped that today’s resolution could begin her healing.”

The case was originally scheduled to go to trial in December. Attorneys for both sides met with a judge for several hours to discuss pretrial motions last week with the trial set to start July 18.

“These are difficult cases,” Woodall told The Associated Press on Thursday evening. “They’re difficult for all the individuals involved. And I hope everybody can move on from this.”

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More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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