Jurors acquitted a former University of Wisconsin-Parkside basketball recruit of sexually assaulting a fellow student in September 2013.
Austin Robinson, 20, of Bolingbrook, Ill., was found not guilty on second-degree sexual assault-use of force and false imprisonment Wednesday. Robinson was a former basketball player for Parkside, and his scholarship was revoked as a result of the incident. He now attends Indiana University, family members said.
The incident took place after the two attended a party at another student’s residence hall. The woman said Robinson forced her to engage in sexual activity, though they did not have sex.
The woman testified this week that they kissed, but she stopped him when his hands went to the waistband of her pants and up her shirt, telling him she wasn’t having sex with him. Robinson said that was OK, and later walked her back to her room.
Once there, he came inside, and they talked for a while. At some point, things shifted. The woman said Robinson forced himself on her, touching her without her consent and leaving her bruised and bloody.
Robinson took the stand Wednesday, testifying that he was “surprised” when the woman’s apparent attitude about sexual activity changed. He said she removed her own clothing and was an active participant in what happened.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Scott King said the only reason this case ended up in criminal court was because the woman, after Robinson had left, saw blood on her sheets.
“It’s because of these sheets,” King said. “Throughout the prosecution, it’s been the sheets. There’s no way there would be this blood on the sheets if it was consensual.”
Special prosecutor Jerrold Hinshaw said that was not true, and for the defense’s interpretation of the evidence to be true, the woman would have to be a sociopath, have the “acting chops” of an Oscar winner and dark sexual preferences — and would have to believe that despite the injuries to the woman, including gouges on her genitals, that Robinson left with no blood on his hands.
After the verdict, Robinson pushed his glasses to this head, placed his hand on his temple and wept.
He hugged King, friends and family after Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the jury.
Attorney: false accusation
King said that from the beginning, he believed allegations against Robinson were unfounded.
“We really had a strong belief … this was a false accusation and also we were very pleased with the jury’s willingness to pay careful attention,” he said. “We’re gratified with the verdict.”
Speaking for Robinson, he said there was no “ill will” toward the man’s accuser. The woman did not appear to be present for the verdict.
Robinson’s father Brian said his son was relieved after 16 months “of being accused falsely and finally having the opportunity to tell his story.”
“I think it is liberation,” he said.
His father said his son was ready to move on and was thankful for the verdict in restoring “the good name he has always had.”
Although she was happy he was acquitted, his mother Veronica said her son’s dream of playing basketball is over.
“I’m sad he had to sacrifice his basketball, his college career for this,” she said.
She said Robinson is continuing his education, is a good student and is considering a future in law.
BY JANINE ANDERSON
and TERRY FLORES