Matt Kemp Named In 2002 Gang Rape Complaint

On January 25, 2002, Mike Strain of the THE OKLAHOMAN reported the following from a story titled, “Midwest City stars named in rape complaint.

Matt Kemp and Rihanna at hotel pool

(Kemp with Rihanna, who was previously a victim of domestic abuse)

Midwest City basketball stars Shelden Williams and De’Angelo Alexander, along with another teammate, have been named in a rape complaint in Columbus, Ohio, according to a police report obtained by The Oklahoman. Named as suspects on the report are Williams, 18; Alexander, 17; and Matthew R. Kemp, 17.

The alleged incident took place on Jan. 20, 2002, at a Columbus, Ohio, hotel.

 A 19-year-old woman filed a report with the Columbus police on Sunday morning. She stated that the suspects forced sexual conduct at 2 a.m. that morning in a hotel room at the Columbus Hyatt hotel.

No charges have been filed.

“Detectives are looking at the case at this point,” said Columbus police spokesman Sherry Mercurio.

The players were interviewed separately Sunday by Columbus police but not arrested. Midwest City coaches were there for the interviews, designated as temporary guardians. All three are starters at Midwest City.

Mercurio said the two witnesses “are accused of being in the room when it happened and are part of the investigation.”

All five players have been suspended from school until at least Monday and did not play in Midwest City’s first-round victory over Choctaw on Friday in the Jenks Invitational.

Midwest City was in Columbus during the weekend for the National Hoops Classic.

Ambika Kumar of the DUKE CHRONICLE on Jan. 31, 2002, reported that the woman who filed the rape complaint report did not press charges. Though the woman did not go forward with the complaint, she indicated that inappropriate sexual conduct took place:

“Prosecuted or not, they know exactly what they did, and they have to live with that,” the woman told Columbus’ CBS affiliate, WBNS-10TV.

The WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL reported on March 9, 2002:

The prosecutor’s office in Columbus, Ohio, will not pursue charges against Shelden Williams, a Duke basketball recruit, and four of his high-school teammates stemming from a rape complaint in January.

Ron O’Brien, the prosecutor for Franklin County, made the decision yesterday. He and Angela Canepa, the director of Columbus’ Sexual Abuse Unit, reviewed an evidence packet compiled by Columbus police about the incident before the decision was made.

The Chronicle reported that the father of Shelden Williams, Bob Williams, said “he felt both his son and the woman had exercised poor judgment.

“We pray for the young lady and all the people involved,” Bob Williams said. “We want our son to be able to go forth. God has put it in his [life] to make him stronger…. He’s going to have to face this each and every day.”

The Chronicle also reported a denial from Williams of any sexual misconduct.

In an interview Sunday night, Williams called the woman’s accusations false.

“We were in our room getting ready to go to bed, and someone came in, and things got out of hand, and then Coach came in and broke it up,” he said, declining to elaborate. He said he and his teammates had been suspended from school and kicked off the basketball team.

The tabloid media is already beginning to “report” on this incident, thanks to Kemp’s relationship to Rihanna. The singer was the victim of abuse by Chris Brown in a high publicized incident before hooking up with Kemp. Now that the Dodger has been linked to Rihanna, the tabloid media is looking for anything in Kemp’s background that will make for a titillating story.

First we got the restraining order from Kemp’s ex-girlfriend, Felisha Terrell. Now we have the 2002 rape complaint. I’m not brushing off these incidents as nothing, but Kemp wasn’t charged with any wrongdoing by authorities in either case, and none of this would be coming up if it weren’t for his connection to a tabloid magnet like Rihanna.

With the huge, negative publicity Kemp is now getting, I doubt sponsors will be knocking down his door anytime soon for a paid endorsement. Kemp is probably also relieved that he signed his new contract with the Dodgers last week - before all this negative reportage surfaced. Reportage that is now being covered by esteemed Dodger blogger Jon Weisman in the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

You would think this’ll make athletes think twice about having relationships with partners who often appear in tabloids, but somehow I doubt it.

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