Former girlfriend accuses Illini football player of abuse, Illinois responds

Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — A university spokesperson is responding to one student’s abuse accusations against Illinois defensive lineman Lere Oladipo. They sent the following:

“Federal Privacy law prevents the university from sharing information about student disciplinary cases, but we want to be clear that the safety and security of our students and members of our community is our number one priority. We provide support and resources to any complainant of dating violence.”

We are continuing to monitor social media, but we do not plan to respond to the author of the posts in that public forum. Student Affairs says both she and Mr. Oladipo say they plan appeal the student discipline decision.

Hana Inman spoke out yesterday against Oladipo, the University of Illinois and the athletic department. The former Illinois football student assistant posted several graphic pictures on Twitter Wednesday, claiming Oladipo abused her on several occasions.

Inman started a Twitter thread about noon on Wednesday, writing more than a dozen posts, claiming Oladipo beat, choked and dragged her to his car last year.

Oladipo was arrested and charged with three counts of domestic battery on Oct. 28, 2018 and was suspended from the team. The charges were dropped in December and Oladipo was reinstated to the Illini in January. Inman said in a post on Wednesday, that she was the reason the charges were dropped: “I went to court & got the charges dropped for him as he swore this was a wake up call to change.”

Oladipo played in the first two games of this season, before head coach Lovie Smith announced he was indefinitely suspended for a violation of team rules. A team spokesperson said the second suspension is related to the first one, after ‘new info came to light.’

The University of Illinois released a statement Wednesday in response to Inman’s posts:

“We are aware of accusations involving football student-athlete Lere Oladipo. Lere has been and remains suspended from all team activities, pending final resolution of his case within the University’s student discipline process. The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics takes allegations such as these very seriously. DIA has comprehensive policies and procedures that provide for immediate suspension and independent review of potential major offenses.  By design, no member of DIA’s staff has a role in any investigation or review of such matters. The University has an investigatory and disciplinary process for all students and, per its policy, DIA will use the University’s findings of fact to make a final determination regarding Lere’s status as a student-athlete. DIA is committed to creating an environment based on family, respect, and civility and is working diligently to be a leader on this campus and across college athletics in this important area.”

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz told WCIA 3 on Wednesday that it’s not unusual for a victim to come forward at a later date. She added the State’s Attorney’s office can file new charges in a case like this, if the evidence supports it. Rietz said victims have 18 months after the original charges to come forward in a misdemeanor case and three years after a felony charge.

Courage Connection CEO Elizabeth Cook says her center offers help for people in abusive relationships. She welcomes people to contact Courage Connection if they feel they’re in a similar situation to Inman’s. Courage Connection can be reached at (217) 352-7151.

“We need to continue to build a community-wide dialogue about what domestic violence is to that we can create a shared understanding of the complexities of the different ways that all entities can respond,” said Cook. She also explains that people should be slow to pass judgment on anyone who is being merciful to an abusive partner.

“First and foremost we need to remember that these relationships truly are meaningful relationships and that, because you care about someone, because you see the challenges that they’re facing, that you want to try to work through the challenges that you’re facing in such a way that it doesn’t have a harmful impact on your partner while you’re trying to keep yourself safe and trying to exit that relationship. So, I do think that sometimes we make the argument, unfortunately, a little more simple than it truly is in terms of the complexities and the dynamics of all relationships.”

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