Praise Martin-Oguike, one of five true freshmen to see game action for the football team in the 2011 season, has been released on bail following charges of rape and sexual assault that a 21-year-old female alleges occurred on Main Campus.
The woman told police that Martin-Oguike, 18, whom she was friendly with, invited her up to his room on the fourth floor of 1940 Residence Hall on Saturday, May 26 to watch television. Martin-Oguike forced her into a lying position, grabbed her around the neck and raped and sexually assaulted her, the woman said.
The woman notified Temple Police the following day and the case was referred to the Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit. Martin-Oguike was arrested on Wednesday, May 30, and charged with aggravated assault, forcible rape, sexual assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.
Attorney James Funt, representing Martin-Oguike, said his client was unjustly charged.
“[Martin-Oguike’s] only mistake was rejecting this woman’s demands for a permanent relationship,” Funt said in a statement. “Her allegations against him are baseless, she knows it and we will prove it in court.”
An interview request with coach Steve Addazio was denied, but he confirmed that Martin-Oguike has been suspended from the football team pending the outcome of the charges.
Assistant Vice President of University Communications Ray Betzner said it is school policy to suspend students in cases where criminal charges have been filed against them.
“Our chief concern is for the safety of our students,” Betzner said. “We worked with the victim of this case to help her as much as we could.”
“We are saddened that Temple chose to suspend this young man without due process and without making an effort to learn all of the facts,” Funt said.
A TU Alert was not issued after the incident because students were not in any danger, Betzner said.
“Had there been a reason for us to believe that students are not safe once we learned of this incident, we would have taken the appropriate actions,” Betzner said.
Martin-Oguike registered three total tackles in games against Buffalo and Ball State last season while playing inside linebacker. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 14.
Joseph Cranney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org