News

Player faces kidnapping, assault charges

Arrested junior defensive tackle is removed from team while charges pend.

The football team has temporarily cut ties with junior starting defensive tackle Kamal Johnson pending the outcome of his weekend arrest on charges of kidnapping and assault, the university announced yesterday, Oct. 8.

A Temple student reported a Sept. 27 incident on the 1600 block of North 15th Street to police on Thursday, Oct. 4. The 21-year-old female told police that her boyfriend forced himself into her apartment, assaulted her and locked her inside a bedroom for more than three hours, refusing to let her leave.

The student was released at 3:52 a.m. the following morning after the alleged incident, according to police. The student reported the incident to the police a week later and showed signs of scratches, bruising and a contusion on her head, a spokeswoman with the police department said. The student told police her boyfriend had been abusive to her during the couple’s three-year relationship.

Johnson turned himself in to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Central Detective Division on Friday, Oct. 5, a spokeswoman with the police department said. He was charged with kidnapping for ransom, unlawful restraint, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and false imprisonment.

A preliminary hearing for Johnson is scheduled for Oct. 23. Johnson has been removed from the football team pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, the university said in a statement yesterday. His status as a student and his scholarship status have not changed, the statement indicated.

Following a May 30 arrest, linebacker with the football team Praise Martin-Oguike was suspended from both the team and the university after being charged with rape and sexual assault.

At that time, Assistant Vice President of University Communications Ray Betzner said by suspending Martin-Oguike, the school was acting in accordance with standard practice.

“In cases where criminal charges have been filed against students, it’s Temple’s practice to suspend the student until the cases have been adjudicated,” Betzner said in June.

However, in light of the Johnson case, Betzner said the university doesn’t have a policy to suspend students regardless of the criminal charges filed against them.

“We have the ability, but it’s not mandatory,” Betzner said. “The university makes decisions on disciplinary actions on a case-by-case basis.”

The university can impose an interim suspension on a student before any criminal charges have been filed and separate from judicial proceedings if the student is deemed a danger to campus as a whole, according to the Student Conduct Code.

Dean of Students Stephanie Ives said the decision to suspend a student depends solely on the charges alleged against the individual.

“You’re taking allegations and you have to determine what code violations apply,” Ives said. “The severity of the charges applies to what code violations we apply.”

Ives couldn’t comment on whether Martin-Oguike had appeared before a Student Conduct Hearing since his arrest.

Coach Steve Addazio refused to comment on Johnson’s place with the team after the Owls’ 37–28 win against South Florida on Saturday, Oct. 6. Johnson posted bail the same day as the homecoming game.

Johnson started the first two games of the season for the Owls. He registered seven tackles in three games.

Sean Carlin and Joey Cranney can be reached at news@temple-news.com.

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