Ex-Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu’s sexual assault conviction overturned on appeal
The sexual assault conviction against former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu has been overturned by Texas’s 10th Court of Appeals. The court also ruled that Ukwuachu be given a new trial.
Ukwuachu was convicted in August 2015 of sexually assaulting a former Baylor women’s soccer player in 2013. He was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years probation but served only two months in jail before a judge granted him bail pending the result of his appeal.
The appeals court overturned Ukwuachu’s conviction because text messages between the victim and a friend of hers on the night of the alleged assault were improperly excluded from evidence. Ukwuachu claims the texts show that he had consensual intercourse with the woman.
Ukwuachu’s case garnered significant media attention because it was revealed that had been dismissed from Boise State after being accused of abusing a former girlfriend. He then transferred to Baylor, where the school faced questions about its knowledge of Ukwuachu’s departure from his previous school. After the former Baylor soccer player accused Ukwuachu of assaulting her, a Baylor investigation cleared Ukwuachu of wrongdoing. He was indicted on two sexual assault charges in June 2014 but the school kept the case under wraps.
In many ways, the Ukwuachu case is what broke the dam of the ongoing Baylor sexual assault scandal. After his conviction, the school hired the Pepper Hamilton law firm to investigate the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations. The fallout led to the firing of head coach Art Briles and the ouster of several other high-ranking university officials, including athletic director Ian McCaw and chancellor Ken Starr.