Short Trial for Football Star

Former Rutherford High Quarterback Blake Harden was acquitted Thursday of having sex with a minor.

Harden was charged with having sex with his then 17-year-old girlfriend Jennifer Benton.

When first interviewed by Bay County sheriff's deputies last August, Benton denied having any sexual relationship with Harden.

But she had a different story Thursday on the stand. She said she and harden had been having a sexual relationship since she was 16.

Harden admitted to being Benton's boyfriend but said they never had sex.

Harden's attorney Waylon Graham says Benton's changing story helped to prove his clients innocence.

"This young lady initially gave a sworn statement and denied that they had sex. Only after they charged her with a felony and threw her in jail did she change her story and say they had sex. I think the jury found that repulsive."

The jury was out only 15 minutes before rendering the not guilty verdict. Despite the acquittal, Harden will still be going to jail for a violation of probation in Leon County.


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