PHILADELPHIA, PA. October 7, 2013: There is finally vindication for former Temple University football player, Praise Martin-Oguike, who lost his football career, his scholarship and his dignity. His record is now clean. Praise Martin-Oguike says it has been 17 months of hell. “It’s been tough. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s somewhere that nobody wants to be.”
It began on Memorial Day Weekend 2012. He was 18 years old at the time and was accused by the 21-year-old fellow student that he was dating at the time, of raping and assaulting her inside a dorm room on Temple University’s campus. The freshman Temple Owl linebacker 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. 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.
Martin-Oguike’s lawyer James Funt, a partner at Greenblatt, Pierce, Engle, Funt & Flores, says it wasn’t until they secured his accuser’s phone records and internet chats that the truth was revealed. “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. Mr. Funt said charges were dropped after a review of the woman’s text messages with her friends indicated she was not truthful about being raped.
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,” Praise said.
The district attorney’s office has not said if it will pursue criminal charges against the woman for making false allegations. 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.