A jury of seven men and five women found Michigan soccer forward Kevin Robinson not guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct yesterday morning after a brief trial that began Monday.
Robinson, a Kinesiology sophomore, pleaded not guilty in May to the felony charge, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
An Art and Design senior told police Robinson raped her Dec. 17, 2000, after meeting him at a party. According to court documents, the victim had visited several bars before attending the party and was incapacitated when the alleged rape occurred.
Judge Archie Brown heard the case at the Washtenaw County Courthouse.
Robinson”s attorney Ronald Plunkett said the jury believed there was reasonable doubt whether Robinson committed the crime after listening to several witnesses from the defense and the prosecution.
“This was an issue if she consented to the sexual activity or not. There were no physical findings that supported the claim,” Plunkett said.
Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Burke said sexual assault cases are difficult to prove.
“The jury was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. That”s just what we have to live with.”
The prosecution based its case on the decisions made by the victim prior to meeting Robinson at the party.
“We emphasized that she had consumed quit a bit of alcohol and couldn”t remember all what occurred,” Plunkett said. “She drank 7 or 8 beers, had a shot of Kamikaze.”
Robinson had also been drinking at the party where he met the victim.
The defense also stressed that the incident took place in the victim”s bedroom, which could have demonstrated that her actions were consensual.
“We tried to show that she was awake and that she agreed to it,” Plunkett said. “The jury felt there was a reasonable doubt to what occurred because it was his word against hers.”
Robinson was suspended from the soccer team after his pretrial hearing in September. Robinson”s coaches were present at the trial.
Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations Bruce Madej said head soccer coach Steve Burns must decide to lift Robinson”s suspension before the Athletic Department takes any action.
“It”s always the coach”s decision,” Madej said. “Burns will sit down with Robinson and (Athletic Director) Bill Martin and go from there.”
Plunkett said Robinson was allowed to work out with the team and kept physically active during his suspension from the team.
“He buckled down on his books,” Plunkett said. “He”s glad that this is over and he is not in jail today.”