MANATEE -- Former Manatee High School quarterback Joshua Meyer on Thursday pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with an underage girl at a house party in April and was sentenced to one year of probation.
Meyer, 18, the starting quarterback on last year's Hurricanes football team, was arrested April 14 after the incident was reported to law enforcement earlier that day.
Investigators arrested Meyer and charged him with one felony count of lewd and lascivious battery after he was questioned because although he denied raping her, he did admit to the sexual activity with the 15-year-old girl. At the time of his arrest Meyer was 17 years old.
"If it would have been a force issue ... they could have and I think would have charged him with sexual bat
tery," said Brett McIntosh, Meyer's defense attorney.
Meyer was not convicted, and the case remains in juvenile court, which means his record will not be public after his one-year probation is complete.
A condition of his probation, standard with a lewd and lascivious charge, is that Meyer undergo a psychological evaluation and any necessary counseling.
Meyer was also ordered to complete 40 hours of community service, not have any contact with the victim, write an apology letter, pay court costs and have a curfew of 8 p.m.
The State Attorney's Office said it could not comment on why the case remained in juvenile court, although Meyer was charged with a felony and had turned 18 before entering his plea.
McIntosh said he does not anticipate Meyer having a problem following the conditions of his probation.
Meyer had been set to stand trial beginning Thursday.
Since his arrest, Meyer has been taking online classes from home rather than attend the alternative Horizons Academy.
"I don't think he plans to return to Manatee High School," McIntosh said. "He does not want to return to Manatee High School because he feels there will be too many distractions as a result of this. Josh is a good kid, he did not commit sexual battery."
Meyer will return to school in the fall to begin his senior year of high school, but it is unclear where he will attend.
While McIntosh maintains there was no forced sexual act, the girl and her family still say that the incident was forced, he said.
"It's one of those unfortunate situations," McIntosh said.
The incident occurred at a house party on April 12, and Meyer and the girl had been drinking alcohol when the two began kissing.
According to the girl's report to police, she then told him to stop. Instead Meyer grabbed her, pulled her into the bathroom, turned off the lights, locked the door and tried taking her pants off, but she asked him to stop.
Meyer completed 95 of 152 passes for 1,156 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions for last year's 11-1 Manatee High team.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.