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. 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….

  2. An example where the accusation equates the punishment, the trial an afterthought.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    1. “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.

  15. 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….

  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.

    1. “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.

  17. “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.

  18. Fred: just wondering what the basis is for “Women commonly report false rapes.”

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