Former Baylor defensive lineman Shawn Oakman finds himself in a very difficult position with the draft approaching, accused of sexual assault but having no practical way to clear his name before the selection process ends. If he’s guilty, his name should never be cleared; he should face the consequences, whatever they may be. However, some documents generated in connection with the investigation show that his defense may have a chance to persuade a jury in his favor.
Affidavits executed in connection with the issuance of search warrants, copies of which have been obtained by PFT, state that the alleged victim was at a bar named Scuffy Murphy’s, and that she initiated contact with Oakman by sending him text messages. Oakman met her there, and after the bar closed they went to his residence.
According to the affidavit, Oakman allegedly forced the alleged victim into his bedroom, forcibly removed her clothing, forced her onto the bed, and sexually assaulted her.
Oakman has told police that any sexual activity was consensual. Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation tell PFT that Oakman and the alleged victim had a pre-existing relationship — as confirmed by the fact that she texted him first that night.
Initiating first contact isn’t and will never be a defense to sexual assault. But it frames the case as something that will turn largely on the testimony of the alleged victim and Oakman, with no other witnesses to whatever happened between them. Physical evidence obtained from Oakman’s apartment and proof regarding any injuries to the alleged victim could push the jury in the direction of a conviction.
Still, the bar in criminal cases remains very high. The circumstances based on the information currently known show that Oakman has a defense that can be presented with a straight face and a realistic hope of securing an acquittal on the pending charges.
As to the charges, there technically are none, yet. Oakman has been arrested, and the case is expected to eventually be presented to a grand jury. In the interim, Oakman’s draft stock surely will be damaged; some think he won’t even be drafted.
If he’s not drafted, Oakman would become a free agent. He still may not be cleared any time soon, if ever. If a jury accepts the testimony of the alleged victim and any other evidence suggesting guilt, Oakman will be convicted of a felony, and his football career will be indefinitely delayed if not permanently ended. As it should be.
Either way, Oakman deserves a speedy trial. But even the speediest trial won’t ensure an acquittal before the draft.