Temple Football Player Cleared After Being Charged With Rape, Stripped of Scholarship, Thrown Out Of College, And Publicly Ostracized

20120605_praisemartin_oguikePraise Martin-Oguike, 20, once had one of the most inspiring stories of a young Nigerian raised by a pastor father and poet mother who went to college in the United States and achieved acclaim on the football field for Temple. That all came crashing down when a Temple business student accused him of rape. He was arrested, stripped of his scholarship, suspended from Temple, and denounced nationally as a football thug. The problem is that he appears entirely innocent. After emails were revealed from the woman indicating that she made up the allegations, all charges were dropped. However, prosecutors have not moved to arrest the woman whose name continues to be withheld in media stories as a presumed sex crime victim. His name of course was always public as a presumed sex criminal.

The lawyers for Martin-Oguike moved to have the court consider the woman’s text messages between friends to show that she lied about being raped. They argued that the woman had been rejected by several other men, including football players, and did not want to get a campus reputation as a football “groupie.” She allegedly accused Martin-Oguike after he “would not agree to have a romantic long-term relationship with her.” One message shows the woman texted a friend about another sexual encounter two weeks before the alleged rape and remarking about his being well-endowed: “I couldn’t deal I was like screaming so much that he put a pillow in my mouth.”

Temple-linebacker-charged-with-on-campus-rape-6C1K54RK-x-largePraise Martin-Oguike, 18, was charged May 31 with forcible rape, false imprisonment and related offenses. The woman said that she had first met the football player when she was moving into a new apartment with her mother and that he raped her when she accepted his invitation to visit him in his dorm. She called a friend and said that she had been raped. He texted her several times apologizing for the incident but denying that he had done anything wrong. However, in a text that likely sealed the matter for the police, he asked “Are you going to press charges?” The defense suggested that this question was always a response to her threats and not to any rape.

My concern is that, if these emails show that the allegation was false, why has not the prosecutor shown equal vigor in pursuing the woman? False rape charges undermine the real problem of rape at colleges and universities.

I have previously discussed the pattern of prosecutors in either not charging false rape victims or seeking relatively light sentences despite the incarceration of innocent men. (here, here, here, here, here, and here).
Perhaps the most infamous refusal to charge such a case involved Crystal Gale Mangum, 33, the stripper who falsely accused members of the Duke lacrosse team. She became a national celebrity as activists warned that anything but long criminal sentences would be proof of racism by the prosecutors. Durham D.A. Mike Nifong joined this lynch mob atmosphere despite the absence of forensic evidence to support the claim of rape. When he was removed and the lie was exposed however North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper refused to prosecute Mangum, who ruined the lives of these students and triggered racial tensions in the region. Cooper simply let her walk in a disgraceful but politically expedient decision.

In this case, the career and life of the student was destroyed by the allegation. I can understand the absence of a criminal charge if the prosecutor is still uncertain. However, the record was clear enough to drop all charges and the news account seems in conflict with the account of the woman. The prosecutors would only say that “Upon further investigation it was determined there was not enough evidence to proceed to trial.” It seems to me that a bit more of an explanation is needed not only on the absence of any investigation into allegedly false statements but also whether the prosecutors were aware of these text messages before bringing the charges.

This result was brought about by some good defense work by Martin-Oguike’s attorney James Funt.

48 thoughts on “Temple Football Player Cleared After Being Charged With Rape, Stripped of Scholarship, Thrown Out Of College, And Publicly Ostracized

  1. After years of the victim being victimized by the judicial system and press, the pendulum has swung. And, until that pendulum swings back to the middle, more young men like this will become the victims. Unfortunately, that is too often the way the world works.

  2. I wonder how many men are in prison and have had their lives ruined because of some female who falsely accused them of rape.

  3. There seems to be a story every week where a guy is/was falsely accused of rape. Usually they serve years in prison. I was watching a Law and Order SUV and my mouth fell open when the character Det. Olivia Benson said something like this (paraphrased) “SUV…where a victim’s word isn’t good enough. You need evidence.” WHAT!? Incredulous.

    Sometimes those lies can be turned into millions, too. Wanetta Gibson, the false accuser in the Brian Banks case, was just ordered to pay $2.6 million. Can’t find where she got any jail time. I would send her to prison for twice the amount of time Banks served.


    Note to JT: Can you please fix this as the links don’t work…”despite the incarceration of innocent men. (here, here, here, here, here, and here).”

  4. I have worked on a number of cases where there were false allegations of child sexual abuse. Those most often happen during bitter custody battles. A friend of mine, now retired, made an excellent living as a private investigator for many years specializing in false allegations of sex abuse. Most of those involved child custody, but many were extortion attempts.

    Some were revenge, like the high school student who accused her math teacher of fondling her breasts when she was held after school for misbehaving. The defense attorney confronted her with a note she had written to friends that she was going to “get” the teacher for keeping her after school. During cross, she had an enraged meltdown when he forced her to identify the note. Jury was out less than fifteen minutes, returning a ‘not guilty’ verdict. Yet, it ruined the teacher’s career. No school district would hire him.

    A friend of mine had something similar happen to him. He was a scientist who worked for the Army. A young woman still in her teens tried to seduce him. He rejected her and it made her mad. When he was accused, he lost his security clearance and his job. He became massively depressed, and put a bullet through his head earlier this year. He was 55 years old. The girl moved away, with no penalties whatsoever.

    There really need to be penalties for this sort of thing.

  5. “There really need to be penalties for this sort of thing.”

    Yep. I understand the need for anonymity when it’s a legitimate claim of sexual abuse or rape, OS, but the manifest injustice perpetrated (usually in the court of public opinion) when those claims are put false needs better remedy at bar and in the press. When someone is cleared of such charges, their false accuser should not only get the pointed end of the legal stick for their duplicitous efforts (in the form of jail time and civil damages), I think the media should make just as big a deal of it as they do when someone is legitimately charged. It’s not just a failure of the law that creates this kind of injustice, but a failure of the 4th Estate as well.

  6. “I was watching a Law and Order SUV and my mouth fell open when the character Det. Olivia Benson said something like this (paraphrased) “SUV…where a victim’s word isn’t good enough. You need evidence.” WHAT!? Incredulous.”

    Um……Er…….Law and Order SUV is a television show….as in fiction….it is not a documentary news program. Det. Olivia Benson is an actress..not a detective.

  7. Mike Spindell: “Um……Er…….Law and Order SUV is a television show”

    Mike, That still doesn’t detract from the fact that this is the attitude that people have about this problem. Simply because it appears on TV doesn’t invalidate the reality of the situation.

  8. I can’t tell from the available stories how strong the evidence is that she lied. I am very uncomfortable with the suggestion that an e-mail indicating she enjoyed sex with someone else two weeks before somehow suggests she lied, and that was the only specific message I saw. (I am not overly familiar with the underlying facts, so you there may be something that makes this message relevant that I don’t see) In concept, I agree that criminal penalties are appropriate for false claims of rape. However, how do you do that without giving another strong weapon to those who would abuse: “They won’t believe you, and lock you up as a liar if you report it.” Anytime a suspect is not prosecuted or a defendant is acquitted, do we put the alleged victim on trial and let the jury sort it out? Seems like that would drastically lower the number of reports all around, not just those that are false. I am not discounting the harm done to defendants falsely accused, or suggesting that action is not needed in that regard, but its not like there is some easily discerned bright line separating “legitimate claims of rape” from false ones.

  9. It’s valid to criticize prosecutors who fail to charge women who make false accusations, but remember two things:

    (1) Most rape allegations ARE true, the number of fakes are miniscule, probably 1 in 100 or less. Rabid prosecutors who take shortcuts to get convictions are unlikely to admit their own mistakes and misconduct, which would be exposed if the accuser were exposed (re: the Duke lacrosse rape case), and the scumbags’ careers threatened.

    (2) A large number of women who are raped never get justice because the pi…uh, cops abuse the women a second time, browbeating them into recanting and not pressing charges. And many prosecutors are lazy, and consider rape to be an “unimportant” crime. There are an estimated 400,000 rape kits in evidence in the US which have never been tested, many of which could be matched against growing DNA databases, but nobody wants to do it.


    “Law enforcement agencies say the number one reason they don’t process kits is lack of resources. I would say, in my observations, that the number one reason is less about resources than will and the continued deficiencies in the way that law enforcement in a lot of jurisdictions treat sexual assault cases,”
    – Sarah Tofte, director of policy and advocacy at the Joyful Heart Foundation and author of the 2009 Human Rights Watch Report on untested rape kits in Los Angeles County


  10. Mike:
    Det. Olivia Benson is an actress..not a detective.

    True. But Mariska Hargitay, who plays her is a womens’ rights activist, and who very explicitly supports that very statement of Det Benson.

    It is no accident the character she play said that. You can be sure the actress would refuse to say something she didn’t agree with in her activist efforts.

  11. “It is no accident the character she play said that. You can be sure the actress would refuse to say something she didn’t agree with in her activist efforts.”


    I have no problem with using the words. In context though it seemed like the words on the show were offered as a real life example of the law. I love many TV dramas for instance, but I don’t use “24” or “Breaking Bad” or “Boardwalk Empire” to inform my opinions.

  12. It seems that we have now reached the opposite point on the pendulum’s swing in which, instead of ignoring the woman’s accusation, we treat it as fact until disproved. It is a distressing feature of our society that we do not seem to be able to reach a middle ground in which the accusation is taken seriously but the rights of both parties are respected until the investigation is concluded and the judicial system has rendered a verdict.

  13. RogerJ, It will take, persistence, and patience to reach that middle. The pendulum was just starting to swing back from the dark ages in the 1970’s. I was an investigator for the KC prosecutor’s office. I worked closely w/ the rape crisis center, which was new. The feminist movement was a part of getting the pendulum swung back to the victim’s side. However, it moved rapidly and became political, instead of legal. That’s why we moved right past the middle to where we are now, w/ men too often being the victim. The press is too PC to be comfortable w/ stories like this. IMO that is the biggest impediment in finding that righteous sweet spot in the middle. W/O the press, this will move slowly, or not @ all. The Duke case was what I thought would get us moving, but it’s going @ a snail’s pace. It’s an ugly subject. People tend to turn away from ugly, when what is needed is for the press and public to meet this serious problem head on, honestly, and w/o PC.

  14. Women commonly report false rapes. Oddly enough most real rapes go unreported.

    I am at the point that I am now skeptical anytime a rape is reported and that is sad.

    But, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

  15. “Women sometimes file false reports” would comport w/ the facts. How often, no one knows. Men rape women and it’s not reported, how often no one knows. However, in our system of justice it is more egregious to jail an innocent person, than it is for a guilty to go free. Having worked for a prosecutor’s office, I dealt w/ that reality. One of the toughest issues I ever dealt w/ going on 4 decades in the justice system.

  16. I share the concern of others who believe the facts are pretty murky in this case and that the woman having had consensual sex with any football player in the past is in no way confirmatory that she is lying about another’s having allegedly raped her. Indeed, the pendulum may sometimes swing too far in the direction of believing the accuser in some cases and run the risk of damaging the reputation of an innocent person–but the problem is that for so many years, and in plenty of cases today, the accuser is still not believed, for reasons such as these (the assumption that if she EVER had consensual sex before, with ANYONE, especially the accused or someone like him, she must be lying this time). This is simply not right.

    Although women sometimes do lie about rape, it is really not all that common, and certainly not so common as to assume they are lying because of some text messages (unless they are far more implicatory than these).

    Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But when it comes to rape, the defense’s attempts to make the case for “not guilty” should focus on areas other than “she’s a lying slut” and “but he’s such a nice boy.” Focus on the facts.

  17. One type of case that I never took…. This is one of the reasons why…. I understand the need for the rape shield laws…. But cases like this really make it hard to understand why there’s not greater exception and leeway….

  18. “Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But when it comes to rape, the defense’s attempts to make the case for “not guilty” should focus on areas other than “she’s a lying slut” and “but he’s such a nice boy.” Focus on the facts.”

    Truly S,

    I agree with your point. The fact is that people lie about everything and anything. It is also true that until a few decades ago the rape of women/men was not dealt with by an understanding of the serious of rape as a crime. The dictum quoted by many a legislator and Judge was that “she should lay back and enjoy it” as if the experience of being abused sexually was somehow an equal “turn-on” for the woman, rather than a terror ridden, painful and humiliating experience. The cases of a person falsely claiming they were raped is at best the reality in perhaps than one percent of rape cases and yet some use a case such as this to establish a false equivalency.

  19. Mike,

    Yeah, it’s a small percentage, but it’s a pretty big injustice when it does happen. It doesn’t only hurt the guy, it hurts other legitimate victims of rape too. When such a false claim does happen, I think the first thing that should happen is the rape shield laws should go out the window and there should be recourse for getting fired over a false charge. The media is trickier to resolve, but injustice can be mitigated.

  20. Just as insurance fraud hurts those who are legitimately injured. Just as welfare fraud casts a pall over all in need. The list goes on, but the “false equivalency” meme folk play that card every chance they can. It’s among many things, lazy.

  21. “I think the first thing that should happen is the rape shield laws should go out the window and their should be recourse for getting fired over a false charge.”


    I agree.

  22. Public identification of the accuser is needed from the beginning and most especially in these cases where the prosecution has “dropped” the charges of wrongdoing against the accused. Let everyone else decide whether or not to initiate or continue voluntary association with either party – this can only be done when the name of the accuser is as readily known as the accused.

  23. Mike,

    Inefficiency in a social program is not the equivalent of a miscarriage of justice in a criminal matter. Logical fallacies are only allowed to become memes when they are not pointed out as logical fallacies. That is why the bad memes of propaganda rely upon volume in perpetrating Big Lie tactics; if you repeat a thing enough times without refutation, it gains memetic adherence and cohesion.

  24. Simmering rage from pent up anger and avoidance. “Better out than in” was the motto of our house. It would serve some here well. The problem is, when their vitriol is unleashed, it is ugly. C’est la vie.

  25. The rape shield laws really relate to relevance. Many people are suggesting that this woman’s consensual sex with another man is somehow relevant to whether or not the rape allegations here are true, and I’ve read many comments on this story suggesting such views continue to be way too common even among the judiciary. However, such evidence does not provide any information as to whether the rape allegation is true or not in the absence of some other circumstances that somehow connect the earlier sex to the present allegation. So why the suggestion to toss the shield laws?

  26. blh, This is my take. When rape shield laws came into vogue the pendulum was swung far toward the defendant, w/ women being raped again by defense attorneys. Keep the safeguards in the courtroom, but lose the anonymity in the press. Although, I respect the anonymity in this forum and in no way does my believing it wrong in criminal cases, transfer to here. Whew! Caught that one before a pre-warning.

  27. Anonymously Yours: “This is one of the reasons why…. I understand the need for the rape shield laws…”

    Well, I don’t. If someone is positive enough that they’ve been raped, if they press charges which they most definitely SHOULD do, then they need to face the person responsible and point the finger in public.That is the basis of our justice system; facing your accuser. If you’re going to accuse someone of this heinous crime, the results of such an accusation could damage the accused for the rest of his/her life, too. If that person is innocent, ‘Sorry, dude. It’s happened so many times that we have a right to ruin your life for the possible good of all’ simply is not acceptable. Although I am not an attorney, it seems to me that this is the ONLY crime treated this way. Fair is fair.

  28. There seems to be some confusion. Rape shield laws are those laws which prohibit examining the complaining witness regarding other sexual activity. The parameters of the exceptions vary by jurisdiction. Generally, if there is some relevance beyond merely “see, she had sex before so she probably consented this time,” the evidence can be admitted under one of the exceptions. Generally, a complaining witness’ name is not known publicly because of media policy rather than law, though the law enforcement agency itself may have some legal obligation not to release the name.

  29. blh, Technically correct. However, in conjunction w/ rape shield laws, many states have made it law that police, courts, etc. cannot release the names of victims, even if they are adults. The laws do not restrict the press obtaining the names from sources and publishing. However, the vast majority of MSM abide these laws and do not publish. When I got sexual assault reports as a PI, the victims name was redacted, or just their initials were used, say in the criminal complaint.

  30. Kraaken…. does your opinion mean the press should not shield the victim?what should happen if the victim is a 14 year old? what should happen if the victim will be ostracized in their community? by their family? made the subject of gossip at work? what if the rape victim is an adolescent male?How does publishing the name of the victim in the press ensure justice?

    What should happen in court is a more difficult problem.

  31. pdm..There is a different standard for juveniles, As far as the victim being ‘ ostracized in their community’, first make certain WHO the victim IS. Seems to me, in this case, there is a possibility the the guy is the victim, but of course that doesn’t sit very well since he’s a male. There should be no difference if the rape victim is an adolescent male (or an adult male, for that matter). Rape knows no gender difference. Rape is rape, pure and simple. As far as ‘publishing the name of the victim in the press ensuring justice’, again, FIRST ascertain exactly WHO the victim is. If you’re going to try to blame someone for something as horrible as rape, you should have the cajones to say “I’M making this charge. I was raped.” As I stated before, this is the only crime I know of that is treated this way. It’s time for the pendulum to swing to the center once again.

  32. QUOTE It seems to me that a bit more of an explanation is needed not only on the absence of any investigation into allegedly false statements but also whether the prosecutors were aware

    Had a case of a woman charged with killing a baby, she spent 2 years in jail waiting for a trial….jury took 20 minutes to find her NOT GUILTY once evidence was presented….

    I have to wonder if the “prosecutors were aware” of this evidence, but brought charges anyway….

    This woman was also ostracized in the press, but then when evidence was presented, everyone was left scratching their heads as to WHY she was even put thru this….

  33. Kraaken,

    I agree that the young man in this case got screwed. But I thought we were talking about publishing the names in the press of those who have made a complaint that they have been raped. You seem to be calling for the names of alleged victims to be published upon making the filing of a complaint to the authorities – before there is a trial and a verdict has been rendered – before the “WHO” has been determined. While I understand your position and agree that it is an unforgiveable tragedy when something like this happens, I do not want the victim’s name published and tried to illustrate that position by providing some examples of particularly vulnerable victims that would make it apparent why I objected. If I were raped and my name was published, I could handle it. I doubt my 14 year old nephew would have the same “cajones”. And there is no argument that rape is rape.

    Shorter answer…usually (most of us know the exceptions), we’ll only know “who” after a trial. The press does not wait to report such crimes until after a trial.

  34. pdm… Yes, I emphatically am. If you can point the finger, you have no right to hide from the fact that it’s your finger doing the pointing. The press publishes the name of the accused, it should publish the name of the accuser.

  35. Kraaken,

    I am sorry you feel that way. It is my belief that if your position should rule, there would be a decided dip in the number of reported rapes. I am sure we would disagree as to the reason why.

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