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Two former Ohio State football players acquitted of rape, kidnapping charges

Jahsen Wint (left) and Amir Riep were booked into the Franklin County Jail on February 12.
Ohio State University

A Franklin County jury returned not guilty verdicts Thursday for two former Ohio State football players who were accused of sexually assaulting a then-19-year-old woman in 2020.

Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint were arrested in February 2020 on charges of rape and kidnapping. Their accuser told investigators that both men forced themselves on her at an off-campus apartment, after she allegedly decided to end a consensual sexual encounter with Riep.

Defense attorney Sam Shamansky represented Wint at trial and said the last three years have been "brutal" for his client.

“This is a kid that grew up in the Bronx, single mom who busted her tail, a community that supported him the whole way, who pulled himself out of very difficult circumstances, excelled academically, and excelled at football, never been in trouble a day in his life, never," Shamansky said.

He said Thursday’s verdict is a “complete and utter vindication” of his client’s character. He said OSU acted too hastily when it dismissed the two players following their arrest.

“Their lives are so intertwined with with how their situation was handled. And in this case, you know, there was a briefest of investigations and the team said ‘Sayonara’ and that was a real setback for Mr. Wint and ultimately it turned out to have been the wrong decision," Shamansky said.

Shamansky said Wint now hopes to pick up the pieces of his life and finish his education.

Jerry Emig, spokesperson for The Ohio State University Department of Athletics, would not directly comment about the case, but did release the following statement regarding consent:

"In general, when the Department of Athletics speaks with student-athletes about consent, we work closely with subject matter experts on campus and follow the university’s well established Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy. You’ll see that page one of the policy defines consent as, 'permission that is clear, knowing, voluntary, and expressed prior to engaging in and during an act. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.'"

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.