Florida football player stops sexual assault behind bar

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Saturday, July 23, 2016
Cristian Garcia
Cristian Garcia
image courtesy Florida University

GAINESVILLE, FL -- A University of Florida football player assisted in stopping a rape that was happening behind a Gainesville restaurant early Thursday morning, according to police reports.

Cristian Garcia, a junior linebacker for the Florida Gators who played in one game last season, said he was working security at 101 Cantina when he and his co-worker saw the alleged rapist and the woman behind the bar's dumpster.

"I was taking out the garbage, and I saw the man pressing the woman up against the dumpster. At first the guy said she was his girlfriend, but about five seconds later I realized the girl was unconscious," Garcia told GatorSports.com. "I turned around and pulled the guy by the shoulder and said, 'Get off.' That pretty much ended the situation then. He was intoxicated and attempted to throw some punches, but he slipped and busted his face on the wall."

The incident was captured on video by another one of the witnesses. According to the Gainesville police report, the woman was unable to walk on her own, couldn't keep her eyes open and had difficulty speaking.

"I hold strong moral values and I don't think anyone should be taken advantage of in that kind of way," Garcia told local television station WTLV. "The girl was basically unconscious, so I knew there was no way she could be giving consent."

Gainesville police arrested 34-year-old Christopher Shaw and charged him with sexual battery.

Garcia also told WTLV that the man's friends were watching the assault take place and did nothing to help.

When the woman regained consciousness at a hospital several hours later, she told police she didn't know Shaw and had not consented to have sex with him, according to the police report.

She also said that at one point she attempted to push him away and told him no "but was physically helpless because she was going in and out of consciousness due to her level of intoxication,'' according to the report.

Garcia, a walk-on for the Gators, had his lone appearance in Florida's 41-7 loss to Michigan in last season's Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.