Large jury pool reports Friday for sexual assault trial of ex-BU player
Hundreds of prospective jurors are scheduled to report Friday afternoon to complete preliminary questionnaires in preparation for the sexual assault trial of former Baylor University football player Shawn Oakman.
E. Allen Bennett, who represents the former Baylor standout, is asking State District Court Judge Ralph Strother to move the ex-player’s trial to Daingerfield in Morris County north of Longview in far northeast Texas because of the heavy local coverage of the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the school’s football program.
During a hearing on Feb. 1, Strother said being able to seat a jury is primarily essential to getting the case to trial, and "the matter has been pending long enough.”
He said he’d revisit the change of venue motion after the prospective jurors complete the questionnaires.
The prospective jurors were told to report on Feb. 25 to the courthouse for the start of the trial.
Oakman was arrested on April 13, 2016, 10 days after authorities executed a search warrant at his campus area apartment and six days after his 24th birthday.
Officers responded early in the morning on April 3, 2016 to the emergency room of Providence Health Center in response to a report of the sexual assault, according to the search warrant affidavit.
The victim told police she met with the suspect, identified as Oakman, at Scruffy Murphy's, a campus-area club, and then walked with him to the nearby duplex, the affidavit said.
Once inside, the woman said that her clothing was forcibly removed and that she was forced onto the bed and sexually assaulted, the affidavit said.
The woman was able to leave after the alleged assault, but told police she left her panties in the duplex and that she lost an earring in the bedroom, the affidavit said.
At the hospital, the affidavit said, she was treated for unspecified injuries and a sexual assault examination was conducted, the affidavit said.
Officers "briefly spoke with Oakman," the affidavit said, "and he admitted to only having consensual sex with the victim."
The search warrant was issued just before 2 p.m. April 3, 2016 and then was executed that afternoon at a duplex in the 1200 block of James Avenue near the university campus.
Investigators seized two comforters, a fitted sheet and a flat sheet from the residence, according to the warrant's return and inventory.
Oakman was indicted for sexual assault on July 20, 2016.
He’s remains free on a $25,000 bond.
The former defensive end was a two-time All-Big 12 selection who ranks first on Baylor's all-time sacks list and second on the school's all-time tackles for loss list.
He wasn't projected to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft in April, but was ranked in the top 100 before the sexual assault allegations surfaced.