OU football recruit Justin Chaisson's plea agreement prompts dismissal of felony counts

By Jake Trotter Modified: May 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm •  Published: May 6, 2009
Sh
e said that’s when he placed a screwdriver to her neck and threatened to kill her, according to the report.

When two of the girl's friends drove up to the scene Chaisson again grabbed her and put her in his vehicle, according to the report.

One of the friends called 911 while following Chaisson's vehicle. According to the report, the incident ended after Chaisson drove his ex-girlfriend to a storage facility and told her to get out of his vehicle.

Chaisson was charged with four felonies: coercion, coercion with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment. He was also charged with a count of false imprisonment, a gross misdemeanor, and three counts of battery constituting domestic violence, all three misdemeanors.

Cristalli said Chaisson’s involvement in the community, including working with Catholic charities and tutoring children, as well as several letters written on his behalf by classmates and teachers helped orchestrate the plea deal.

Cristalli said Chaisson had not returned to Bishop Gorman since the incident, but is working toward getting his high school diploma.

This is the second year row that OU has had to deal with an incoming recruit that faced felony criminal charges.

Last spring, Atlanta wide receiver Josh Jarboe was allowed to keep his football scholarship and enroll at OU after his two felony gun charges were pleaded down to misdemeanors.

But Jarboe was ultimately dismissed from the team when a YouTube video of him rapping about shooting people surfaced days before the start of fall camp. He eventually transferred to Troy.

OU officials, however, should have had an easier time vetting Chaisson’s charges. Bishop Gorman is a place the Sooner coaches are familiar with as the parochial institution has become a recruiting pipeline for OU in recent years.

Sooner running back DeMarco Murray and linebacker Ryan Reynolds are both alums of Gorman, and former Gorman football coach David White is now an OU graduate assistant.

“I had a great experience interacting with the people at OU, they don’t automatically label somebody,” Cristalli said. “It doesn’t meant they aren’t concerned, but the one thing I gathered from my experience with them is that they give people an opportunity to find out what kind of character an individual has. They’ve ultimately have had the opportunity to get to know Justin and his family, and that the allegations were not reflective of his personality.

“This was a bump in the road, but it’s something he’s learning from. Hopefully the university and the people in Oklahoma will give Justin the opportunity to get to know him and realize he’s a kind person.”

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