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A San Diego County judge sentenced former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II to 14 years in prison Wednesday for multiple rapes and sexual offenses committed against five women in Southern California.
The sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea arrangement Winslow agreed to in February. Winslow was convicted of forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, assault with intent to commit rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct in public.
Had he been convicted of the 12 charges including seven felonies that he originally faced without a plea deal, Winslow could have faced life in prison.
Judge Blaine Bowman called Winslow "a sexual predator” and described his crimes as "brazen" when handing down the sentence.
“The vulnerability of the victims was no accident,” Bowman said, per the Associated Press. “It was the type of victim that you sought out yourself because you felt that perhaps they wouldn’t report the crime” or “wouldn’t be deemed credible by the jurors.”
Jury convicted Winslow of rape in 2019
In June of 2019, a San Diego County jury found Winslow guilty of raping a 58-year-old homeless woman and indecent exposure involving a woman who was gardening in her front yard. Jurors agreed that he was guilty of rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct, but remained deadlocked on six other felonies, prompting a retrial on those charges.
Among the charges jurors couldn't agree on were the alleged 2018 rape of a 54-year-old hitchhiker and the 2003 rape of an unconscious 17-year-old high school senior at a party.
Multiple plea deals for Winslow
Rather than face trial again, Winslow agreed to a last-minute plea deal in 2019 that took place after jurors had been seated for the retrial. Winslow pleaded guilty then to raping the 17-year-old and to sexual battery of the hitchhiker. He faced 12 to 18 years in prison per the terms of that deal.
He pleaded then with Bowman to hand down the minimum sentence.
“I pray to God that you give me 12, and I can go home to my family as soon as possible,” Winslow said when entering his 2019 guilty plea.
Winslow was slated to be sentenced in 2020, but the hearing was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before Wednesday's hearing, Winslow agreed in February to yet another plea deal, reducing his maximum sentence to 14 years. Per that deal, Winslow was allowed to change his plea of sexual battery of the hitchhiker to a lesser charge of assault with intent to commit rape.
'I don't ever feel safe'
The homeless woman Winslow raped was one of four women to provide statements at Wednesday's sentencing hearing. She described the long-term impact Winslow's rape has had on her life.
“It’s affecting my life every day and every night,” she said, per the Associated Press. “I don’t ever feel safe inside or outside. You brought so much damage to my life.”
Winslow's fall from Pro Bowl tight end
Winslow played nine season in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Pariots and New York Jets. The son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow, Winslow II was selected by the Browns as a first-round draft pick out of Miami in 2004.
Winslow made the Pro Bowl in his third season in the league and accrued more than $43 million in career earnings before his 2013 retirement.
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