Three years after their arrest on charges of rape and kidnapping, two former Ohio State football players sat in a crowded courtroom Tuesday as attorneys argued over video evidence and the credibility of the testimony against them.
Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint, both 24, are on trial in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on two counts of rape and a single count of kidnapping in the alleged assault of 19-year-old woman in February 2020. If convicted, they face maximum sentences of 33 years.
Among the witnesses called on the first day of the trial were the woman, her roommate and the nurse who performed the sexual assault forensic examination.
The woman testified she started communicating with Riep via Snapchat in December 2019 and visited his apartment for the first time the night of the alleged attack.
When they walked into Riep’s bedroom, she said, the bed was the only place to sit. After showing the woman the tattoo on his back, Riep kept his shirt off and soon started “putting his fingertips in my sweatpant band.”
The woman said she eventually felt her pants coming off and sensed a lot of “pressure” on her back. At this point, Wint walked into the room, and Riep asked her if Wint could watch them perform sex. She testified she told Riep she wanted Wint to leave and wanted to go home herself.
The woman said Riep then forced her onto her hands and knees and both men raped her. After the attack, she said both forced her to record a video, which was played in court, agreeing the sex was consensual. The woman said she said she consented in the recording because she believed she would then be able to go home.
Riep’s attorney, Dan Sabol, said the recording was made because players were told at a football team meeting to get proof that sexual relations in which they engage are consensual.
The woman said Riep forced her to shower and wash her genitals and drove her to her dorm, where she showered repeatedly, before reporting the incident to Columbus Police.
Court records show she met with a sexual assault nurse examiner Feb. 6. She said she also sought a civil protection order from the two men.
Reip’s defense attorney Dan Sabol argued his client and Wint engaged in consensual sex with the woman.
Samuel Shamansky, Wint’s attorney, said Wint was playing video games with headphones on when Riep brought the woman back to their apartment. Shamansky said while playing an online game with other members of the football team, his teammates said to get Riep to join them in the game. Once entering the room, Riep asked if Wint wanted to join in sex.
Shamansky said although the sex was consensual, Wint felt ashamed afterward and complied with the police because he had nothing to hide.
Both attorneys questioned the consistency of the statement the woman made to Columbus Police Detective Joshua Martin the night of the incident when compared to the testimony made in court Tuesday.
Sabol argued the woman said in court none of what happened that night was consensual, but the night of the incident she told Martin she was “somewhat OK” with Riep taking off her clothes and touching her.
Shamansky pointed out the woman told Martin she and Riep were “doing our thing” prior to Wint’s arrival. He said that made it seem they were having consensual sex, which the woman argued Tuesday they were not.
Shamansky questioned why the woman would get in the car with a man who had just assaulted her. The woman said she wanted to ensure he didn’t see her as a threat and harm her more.
The trial will resume Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Franklin County of Common Pleas with the testimony of another witness.
Casey Smith contributed to reporting.
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