Former Cowboys safety C.J. Spillman has been convicted of rape by a Tarrant County jury. He now faces a minimum of two and as many as 20 years in prison at a Friday sentencing hearing.
On September 20, 2014 Spillman attacked a woman visiting him from Chicago at the Gaylord Texan resort in Grapevine between 6 and 7 a.m. He then traveled with the Cowboys to play against the then St. Louis Rams on the 21st and continued to play for the rest of the season.
According to media reports from inside the courtroom, Spillman said that he had sex with the victim but that the sex was consensual. His victim testified that she came to Dallas to visit Spillman as friends, became worried that he would hurt her and asked to leave on a flight back to Chicago. At that point, she said, Spillman attacked her. She didn't run away to get help because so many people staying at the hotel were Cowboys fans, she testified.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who's repeatedly argued that he wants high character guys on his team, told the media that he believed due process only began when someone was charged, not accused.
Spillman, for his part, avoided the media for the rest of the season. On the field, he emerged as key contributor on special teams, recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff of a crucial division game with the Eagles in December and forcing two fumbles during the Cowboys two-game playoff run against the Lions and Packers.
Spillman wasn't arrested until July 2015, when a grand jury charged him with the rape. After his indictment, Spillman was not picked up by any team for the 2015 season.