Former UNC Charlotte quarterback Kevin Olsen was found not guilty on three counts of second-degree rape and one count of second-degree sex offense.
The trial began Monday, Sept. 24 after charges originated on Feb. 19, 2017, when Olsen sent several threatening texts to his then-girlfriend while intoxicated. The former girlfriend alleges she was then raped and assaulted several times that night while Olsen remains adamant that all sexual acts between the two were consensual. Olsen would have faced up to 30 years in prison had he been found guilty.
According to the prosecutor, the couple got into a heated argument over text following a night of drinking. Olsen sent many hostile messages, including threats to kill both his former girlfriend and himself. Later that night, the couple met at his off-campus apartment where Olsen allegedly became physically violent. The prosecutor stated that “he attacked her with his words, he attacked her with his fists; he delivered blow after blow to her head, to her arms, to her stomach, to her face.”
The former girlfriend alleges that after Olsen assaulted her, he held her against her will and forced her into oral sex. He then allegedly further escalated things by penetrating her “three separate times without her consent.” The former girlfriend was able to sneak out of the room after Olsen fell asleep and sought help from Olsen’s roommate and his fiancee. They then went to Carolina’s Healthcare System University where she spoke with police and received examinations. According to the medical reports, she came to the hospital with “vaginal injuries and bruising around one of her eyes.”
Superior Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams allowed limited media coverage of the trial. It was prohibited to take photos or video of the former girlfriend or the jury, and all audio recordings of the accuser had to be distorted. This was in an effort to protect the accuser and her anonymity amidst a large amount of public interest.
This is not Kevin Olsen’s first encounter with the law. During his senior year of high school, Olsen drove his car into two other vehicles and a tree before fleeing the scene. According to the police, Kevin appeared to be “under the influence of something.” According to court documents, Olsen was found guilty of both careless driving and failure to report an accident resulting in a fine of $254. In addition to this, Kevin was charged with a DUI while attending the University of Miami. This and other inappropriate behavior caused Kevin to be cut from the football program and from the university. He then transferred to Towson University but was quickly removed from their football team due to several reported conduct issues. After this, Kevin transferred to UNC Charlotte and played as the quarterback for the 49ers until he was removed from the team due to the rape allegations made in February of last year.
Kevin Olsen’s family relations play a large factor in the amount of media coverage this case has received. Greg Olsen, Kevin’s older brother, is the tight end for the Carolina Panthers. He was on the list of potential witnesses, expected to deny allegations that Kevin’s jealousy created tension in their relationship. Over the past year, Greg has remained silent about the case.
Kevin Olsen refused a plea deal and his lawyer stood beside him, stating that he was “100 percent not guilty.” Over the course of the trial, Olsen’s defense team, George and Bree Laughrun, attempted to discredit the prosecuting witness by informing the court that she sent a text to a friend after the incident stating, “He is not a rapist.” They also pointed out several inconsistencies in the former girlfriend’s testimony and undermined the accuser’s character by describing her as obsessive and emotionally unstable.
Seven witnesses were called to testify including the prosecuting witness, several friends of the former couple, a CMPD crime lab technician, a DNA analyst and the sexual assault nurse examiner who treated the girl during the night of the incident. Taneika Torres, the sexual assault nurse examiner, testified that the former girlfriend entered the hospital with bruising on her right arm and her left eye and a knot on the back of her head and also reported abdominal pain. Torres also stated that the accuser had vaginal lacerations but could not determine if the injuries were recent. Amanda Blain, the CMPD crime lab technician, testified that Kevin Olsen was exceedingly compliant as she swabbed his cheek and took several photos of him, several of which where of him nude.
On Monday, Oct. 1, a jury consisting of nine men and three women cast their first votes: two votes guilty and ten votes not guilty. The jury remained divided for two days before they finally reached a consistent verdict of not guilty on all charges.