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Arrest and conviction rates, for male collegiate and professional athletes accused of felony sexual assault against women are compared with national crime data to determine whether elite athletes receive preferential treatment by the criminal justice system. The research is based on 217 criminal complaints against athletes filed with police between 1986 and 1995. The findings indicate that allegations of sexual assault involving collegiate or professional athletes are far more likely to result in an arrest and in an indictment. Nonetheless, athletes are significantly less likely to be convicted.
Jeffrey Benedict is at New England Law School in Boston and Alan klein is with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115.