Appeal court upholds sexual assault conviction of former BU footballer Ukwuachu

Former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu, left, leaves the 10th Court of Appeals with his attorney, William Bratton III, following arguments Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Waco, Texas. Ukwuachu is awaiting judgment in a new trial after his 2015 conviction for the rape of a woman. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)

By Michael Haag | sports editor

After a seven-year journey through the criminal justice system, former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu’s conviction for sexually assaulting a former student-athlete was upheld Thursday by Waco’s 10th Court of Appeals.

Ukwuachu, 29, was convicted in August 2015 of sexually assaulting a female soccer player in her apartment in October 2013. He was suggested he be put on probation by the jury, and the former 54th District judge d State, Matt Johnson, ordered Ukwuachu to serve 180 days in the county jail as part of his 10-year probation.

The former defensive lineman was released on bail after serving two months and two weeks of that term.

FILE - In this March 1, 2017 file photo, former Baylor soccer player Sam Ukwuachu leaves the 10th Court of Appeals following arguments in Waco, Texas.  An appeals court has overturned the conviction of the former Baylor soccer player whose case helped spark the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the nation's largest Baptist school.  The Texas 10th Court of Appeals ruled in a Wednesday, March 22, 2017 decision that text messages should not have been excluded from testimony in Sam Ukwuachu's 2015 trial. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP, file )
FILE – In this March 1, 2017 file photo, former Baylor soccer player Sam Ukwuachu leaves the 10th Court of Appeals following arguments in Waco, Texas. An appeals court has overturned the conviction of the former Baylor soccer player whose case helped spark the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the nation’s largest Baptist school. The Texas 10th Court of Appeals ruled in a Wednesday, March 22, 2017 decision that text messages should not have been excluded from testimony in Sam Ukwuachu’s 2015 trial. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald via AP, file )

The case of Ukwuachu, along with other football players and Baylor students accused of sexual assault, has cast a negative light on Baylor University in terms of sexual violence issues. The accusations led to the departure of former football coach Art Briles and university president Ken Starr.

Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said in a statement to Lariat that the university has learned from those dark days of the past.

“Baylor is no longer the same university as it was six years ago, when the university took several unprecedented steps, including leadership changes and the large-scale implementation of new policies, processes and procedures, regarding its response to incidents of sexual and interpersonal violence within the campus community,” Fogleman said.

Since the original sentencing, Ukwuachu’s case has bounced between the Waco 10th Court of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Now he still plans to continue fighting with his attorney, Bill Bratton, in Dallas.

Ukwuachu and Bratton plan to file a writ of habeas corpus with the trial court that alleges civil rights violations, according to KWTX. Ukwuachu said he would expose the system for its lies and sue for $100 million.

Fogleman said the school has emphasized sexual assault awareness.

“The 105 recommendations implemented at Baylor were just the beginning,” Fogleman said. “We have made great strides in training and educating all students, faculty and staff to improve awareness and prevention of sexual and interpersonal violence and to respond appropriately when such events occur. produce.”

Ukwuachu will continue her fight from prison, and the woman who testified that Ukwuachu sexually assaulted her in her apartment ended up losing her soccer scholarship and later reached a confidential settlement in her lawsuit against Baylor.

In this photo taken Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, Sam Ukwuachu speaks during his trial at the Waco 54th District Court in Waco, Texas.  The former All-American who transferred to play football at Baylor University was convicted of sexually assaulting another student athlete in 2013. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
In this photo taken Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, Sam Ukwuachu speaks during his trial at the Waco 54th District Court in Waco, Texas. The former All-American who transferred to play football at Baylor University was convicted of sexually assaulting another student athlete in 2013. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

According to Fogleman’s statement, Baylor plans to continue its progress in raising awareness of sexual violence through the university’s “Christian mission.”

“Our leadership, our Board of Trustees and our campus community remain continually committed to fulfilling our Christian mission as a caring community,” Fogleman said.

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