Charges against UI football player dismissed

Charges against UI football player dismissed

URBANA — A Champaign County prosecutor Tuesday dismissed domestic-battery charges against a University of Illinois football player.

Assistant State's Attorney Brooke Hinman said she dismissed three misdemeanor counts against Olalere Oladipo, 20, after both the alleged victim and a witness who called police changed their stories.

The case was to have been tried by a jury before Judge Brett Olmstead starting Tuesday.

UI police arrested Oladipo early on the morning of Oct. 28 in a parking lot on East Peabody Drive following an argument with his girlfriend. The charges filed alleged he pushed her, grabbed her arm and caused her to have a cut to the lip.

Hinman said she had a statement from the woman and the witness as well as an allegation from a third party that lead to the charges being filed.

However, at a Nov. 8 bond-modification hearing, the woman testified before Olmstead that Oladipo had not abused her, that she still wanted to be around him, and that there had been no prior instances of abuse.

Hinman said a man who saw the exchange between Oladipo and the woman and called 911 also changed his story as she prepared for trial.

Oladipo's attorney, Tom Bruno of Urbana, said that witness was in a dormitory room across the street from the Activities and Recreation Center parking lot, where Oladipo and his girlfriend were, and it's unlikely he heard any of the exchange.

Further, Bruno disputed that any witness, including the alleged victim, changed his or her story.

"No witness ever said that Oladipo was seen committing any battery, including the named victim," he said. "This is a case that never should have been prosecuted by Ms. Hinman."

A redshirt freshman defensive lineman, Oladipo was immediately suspended from the football team, missing the last month of the season.

Reached today in New York, UI athletics spokesman Kent Brown said Oladipo's status with the team has not changed. Illinois coach Lovie Smith and athletic director Josh Whitman will have a chance to discuss Oladipo's future soon, Brown said.

Oladipo missed the first two games with an injury and made his debut against South Florida. In four games, he had seven tackles.

Bruno said both Oladipo and his girlfriend denied there had ever been harmful contact between them.

-