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A Texas jury has found former Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman not guilty of raping another student in 2016.
The McLennan County jury deliberated about two hours in Waco on Thursday before acquitting the 26-year-old Oakman of sexual assault.
The woman who says she was raped testified earlier that she’d been drinking and was intoxicated when Oakman assaulted her. She said she told Oakman that she wanted to leave his duplex that night but he wouldn’t allow it.
Oakman’s attorney told jurors that the two wanted to be together that night and that they had consensual sex. The two had a previous relationship.
The jury rejected the state’s narrative and concluded that the state had failed to prove this was a non-consensual encounter,” Oakman’s attorney Alan Bennett said. “… Shawn and his family are so appreciative of the jury’s careful attention to and thoughtful consideration of the evidence. In my 29 years of courtroom experience, I have never experienced a more emotional celebration when a verdict was read.”
Once considered a potential second- or third-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Oakman, the Bears’ career leader in sacks, went undrafted after his arrest.
His arrest in April 2016 came in the midst of public scrutiny over Baylor’s response to sexual assault allegations against students and athletes, and publicity over several other cases involving football players.
About a month later, after Baylor regents reviewed the results of an investigation by law firm Pepper Hamilton of the school’s handling of sexual assault and domestic violence reports, they fired head coach Art Briles, suspended athletic director Ian McCaw and demoted president Kenneth Starr; McCaw and Starr would soon leave Baylor altogether.
One of the cases reviewed in Baylor’s investigation was a January 2013 police report in which a different woman had accused Oakman of having physically assaulted her. She told officers she didn’t want to pursue a criminal case and no charges were ever filed.
Regents learned from the investigation that the woman told football staff members about the domestic violence report at that time, but they did not notify judicial affairs.
Oakman had come to Baylor from Penn State, where he had been dismissed from the program in 2012 after he was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, harassment and retail theft stemming from an incident in which he allegedly tried to steal a sandwich from a convenience store and was aggressive with a female store clerk by grabbing her wrist.
Neither incident was presented to jurors as part of Oakman’s criminal trial, and might have been allowed only as part of sentencing proceedings if Oakman had been convicted.
In December 2014, he announced his plans to return to Baylor for his senior year despite projections that he would be a high-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft. The former All-American defensive end went undrafted in 2016, after news of his arrest. While awaiting trial, he played for a Champions Indoor Football team in North Dakota.
Two other former Baylor football players — TreVon Armstead and Myke Chatman — were charged with sexual assault in 2017 and are awaiting trial, and former Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu is still awaiting a final decision on his appeal of his sexual assault conviction in 2015.
ESPN’s Paula Lavigne contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.