Teen not guilty in campus rape case
— A Baltimore teenager accused of sexually assaulting a Washington College classmate on campus in September 2016 was found not guilty of the most serious charge, second-degree rape, last week during a one-day jury trial in circuit court here. Fope Moses Fadojutimi, 18, also was found not guilty of second-degree sex offense and second-degree assault. He was convicted of fourth-degree sex offense, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. No sentencing date has been set. The seven men and five women on the jury deliberated for less than an hour behind closed doors Thursday, March 22. They were excused at 5:08 p.m., returned to the courtroom 41 minutes later asking for a definition of second-degree sex offense and to have Judge J. Frederick Price re-instruct them on the elements of the offense and notified the bailiff at 6:02 p.m. that they had reached their verdicts. Fadojutimi was the only defense witness. He testified that the sex between him and his accuser was consensual. “She did not say ‘ no’ and she did not try to push me away,” he told the jury. The sexual encounter occurred in his dorm room on Sept. 8, 2016, about two weeks into the academic year.
Fadojutimi and his accuser, who was 18 at the time, were first- year students at Washington College. They met during freshman orientation, had seen each other socially a couple of times and had mutual friends, both testified. The Kent County News does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes. Fadojutimi was removed from campus within a day of the allegations being reported and was subsequently expelled. He is now attending another college, he testified. The woman is no longer a student at Washington College. She returned to her hometown and is now working there. “I just needed to get away,” she replied to a question asked by prosecutor Robert Mowell. She was the first witness for the state and, under direct examination, replayed the events of Sept. 8, 2016. She testified that she willingly went to Fadojutimi’s dorm room after they had smoked marijuana in a car in the parking lot. “We were just going to hang out and watch TV,” she said. Eventually the two had sexual intercourse, which the woman said was not consensual. “I kept saying ‘ No, stop,’” she testified in a barely audible voice, wiping away tears. The woman testified that immediately after leaving Fadojutimi’s room, she went to her dormitory and located her roommate and another friend, who took her to the college’s Office of Public Safety to file a report. She testified that she gave a written statement to a public safety officer, went to the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, where she underwent a forensic examination, and returned to the public safety office to give a second statement. She also reported the alleged sexual assault to the Chestertown Police Department. Under cross- examination by defense attorney George Oswinkle, the woman testified that she tried to push Fadojutimi off of her and that she told him “no” and “stop.” She also testified that she did not call out for help, and she was unable to recall some details — such as the clothes that she and Fadojutimi were wearing. Her testimony lasted about an hour. Other state witnesses included public safety officer Burton Brown, Cpl. Michelle Guerriero of the CPD and registered nurse Leslie Collier, whom the court accepted as an expert in the field of sexual assault forensics. Collier, who examined the woman in the hospital’s emergency room, told the jury that based on her examination it was not possible to determine if the sex had been consensual or rape. Fadojutimi testified that his accuser willingly went to his room, did not object when he took off her clothes and that they had consensual intercourse. Afterward, he said, he walked her back to her dorm room, where they hugged, and then he returned to his dorm. In closing arguments, Oswinkle described the woman’s memory as “sketchy.” “This was two teenagers who made a bad decision, but there is no crime,” he said. Fadojutimi was charged as an adult, though he was only two months past his 17th birthday when the incident occurred. His attorney was unsuccessful in having the case being adjudicated in juvenile court. A second Washington College student accused Fadojutimi of rape and sexual assault on campus in the first week of September 2016. That case is scheduled for trial next month, also in the Circuit Court for Kent County.