Local/State

Ex-Temple University player speaks on dropped rape charges

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

There is vindication for a former Temple University football player who was accused of rape. Praise Martin-Oguike lost his football career, his scholarship and his dignity. His record is now clean.

On Tuesday night, he spoke with Action News about the turn of events.

"It's been tough. I don't even know how to explain it. It's somewhere that nobody wants to be," Martin-Oguike said.

Praise Martin-Oguike says it has been 17 months of hell.

It began on Memorial Day Weekend 2012. He was 18 years old at the time and was accused by a 21-year-old fellow student he was dating of raping and assaulting her inside a fourth floor dorm room on Temple University's campus.

"When it first happened, I didn't know what to think; I didn't know where to go. I just kept trusting God and that's what kept me through," Martin-Oguike said.

The former Temple Owl linebacker in his freshman year was ostracized, stripped of his athletic scholarship, kicked out of Temple and vilified nationally and on the internet.

"Everything that went on Twitter and all over the internet, it was just tough to handle for me," Martin-Oguike said.

Martin-Oguike's lawyer says it wasn't until they secured his accuser's phone records and internet chats that the truth was revealed. His accuser did it out of spite because he refused to have a longterm relationship with her.

"Thousands of texts, thousands of chats to close confidantes that ultimately revealed exactly what we had said from the beginning, that these were false allegations," defense lawyer James Funt said.

Martin-Oguike and his family emigrated from Nigeria back in 1999. His father and mother are involved in the Episcopalian ministry in Sewaren, New Jersey.

"God has delivered us as he promised. No matter what the devil will do, God will deliver us," mother Ngozi Martin-Oguike said.

Praise says he holds no grudges against his accuser.

"I got to look at it in a positive way. It made me a better person. I learned a lot from the whole experience and moving forward," he said.

The district attorney's office has not said if it will pursue criminal charges against the woman for making false allegations.

Meanwhile, Praise Martin-Oguike says while he has not heard back from Temple officials, he hopes to be able to return to the university and eventually attend medical school.

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Tags:
philadelphia news, rape, temple, local/state, dann cuellar
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