Baylor’s Sam Ukwuachu found guilty of sexual assault
The verdict was delivered by a jury in McLennan County, Texas, which deliberated on the case stemming from an October 2013 incident following Baylor’s homecoming victory over Iowa State. The sexual assault occurred several months after Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor from Boise State. Ukwuachu was indicted on two felony charges in June 2014, but the allegations were not reported by media until earlier this month.
Earlier Thursday, a report from Texas Monthly alleged the case was mishandled by Baylor and authorities. The Texas Monthly report and a report from Deadspin earlier this week found Waco police initially refused to elaborate on details from the case. The prosecutor later successfully lobbied the judge to issue a gag order prohibiting Ukwuachu, his attorney and the prosecutor from publicly speaking about the case.
A copy of the incident report obtained by Texas Monthly shows the victim said Ukwuachu took her to his Waco apartment and forced himself on her despite her requests for him to stop. The victim went to the hospital the next day for a rape examination, which revealed injuries consistent with sexual assault.
The jury found Ukwuachu, 22, guilty of sexual assault in an October 2013 incident involving a former Baylor soccer player.— Tommy Witherspoon (@TSpoonFeed) August 21, 2015
Ukwuachu is crying loudly as Judge Matt Johnson polls the jury about its verdict.— Tommy Witherspoon (@TSpoonFeed) August 21, 2015
Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor in the fall of 2013 after he was dismissed by Boise State in May 2013. While at Boise State, Ukwuachu was accused of being abusive toward a former girlfriend. He was dismissed from the team due to an unspecified violation of team rules, but he told Rivals.com in May 2013 that Baylor coaches “knew everything.”
According to ESPN's Big 12 beat writer Max Olson, Baylor head coach Art Briles has emphatically denied he knew about Ukwuachu's violent past at Boise State.
Baylor sought an NCAA waiver in 2013 to make Ukwuachu immediately eligible, but Boise State said it would not support the petition, Texas Monthly reported.
Ukwuachu sat out the 2013 season and was expected to play for Baylor in 2014, but he sat out the season because of the rape indictment. Baylor did not specify the reason for his absence.
“It's unfortunate for everybody concerned,” Briles said. “That's really about it. Our timeline was followed by what the standards were here.”
Baylor issued a statement Thursday night after Ukwuachu’s guilty verdict was announced.
Update - Friday, Aug. 21: ESPN's Max Olson shared a transcript of Briles denying that he had any knowledge of Ukwuachu's history before arriving in Waco.
- Mike Fiammetta