A sexual assault incident involving Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu has been thrust into the public eye after an article in Texas Monthly alleges the university and authorities mishandled the entire situation.
The magazine also questions why it took so long for the public to be aware of the details of an incident that happened in 2013.
Ukwuachu is currently standing trial for a sexual assault that occurred on Oct. 19, 2013. The jury began its deliberation Thursday.
According to court documents obtained by Texas Monthly, a former Baylor female student-athlete, who is referred to in court documents as Jane Doe, alleged that Ukwuachu raped her at his Waco apartment following the Bears’ homecoming win against Iowa State.
The court documents revealed details about the case that had not previously been released:
The two were friendly, and shortly before two in the morning, Ukwuachu texted Doe, who replied to his message by saying that she would call him. During her testimony Tuesday, she said that she had called him moments later and agreed to go with him to get something to eat or to go to another party—but after he picked her up that night, he turned the wrong way out of her apartment complex and drove her to his apartment instead. Doe’s testimony regarding what happened in his apartment is disturbing. She described Ukwuachu as extremely agitated, getting angry with his dog and with a friend on the phone, who was in from out of town. After she resisted his initial advances, Doe testified, he began to grab her. “He was using all of his strength to pull up my dress and do stuff to me,” she said. “He had me on my stomach on the bed, and he was on top of me.” Doe testified that he pulled her dress up, pulled her underwear to the side, and forced her legs open with his toes, her head pressed between his bed and his desk, then forced himself inside of her. Doe was a virgin at the time.
An Aug. 5 article in the Waco Tribune was the first reported information that surfaced about Ukwuachu going to trial. The story came 14 months after the incident took place despite the fact that the victim had contacted police the day after the incident and been to a hospital where a rape kit was obtained. According to court documents, a sexual assault nurse examination revealed “vaginal injuries including redness, bleeding, and friction injuries.”
However, police did not hand the case over to the prosecutor until several months later. Evidence in the case was so compelling, that assistant district attorney Hilary Laborde decided to pursue felony sexual assault charges against Ukwuachu. Still, Ukwuachu wasn’t indicted until June 25 of the following year.
Moreover, Baylor University performed its own investigation that ultimately cleared Ukwuachu, but the judge in the case found the investigation to be so lacking that he sustained a motion that prevented the defense from referencing it at all during the trial.
In 2013, Ukwuachu was a Freshman All-American defensive end at Boise State. However, he was dismissed from the program amid concerns about anger issues and allegation he was abusing his girlfriend. Boise State attempted to get Ukwuachu help in the form of anger management classes, but in the end thought it was better to part ways.
Boise State was so concerned with Ukwuachu’s behavior that when Baylor sought a letter from the school to help Ukwuachu bypass NCAA transfer rules and become immediately eligible, Boise State declined.
Ukwuachu sat out the 2013 because of transfer rules and then missed the 2014 season for what Baylor described as a "violation of team rules." However, even as Ukwuachu was scheduled for trial — if convicted he could face up to 20 years in prison — defensive coordinator Phil Bennett said he expected Ukwuachu back for the 2015 season.
Ukwuachu should know his fate before the end of the week. At the time of this posting, the jury was entering its third hour of deliberations.
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