Former ODU football players sentenced for sexual assault

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Three former Old Dominion University students have accepted plea deals in a sexual assault case that happened two years ago.

On Monday, Reid Evans and Markell Wilkins, who were star football players at ODU, along with Evan’s former roommate, Jack Ly, received their sentence for allegations of rape that stemmed from an alcohol-filled on-campus encounter.

Since 2012, it’s been a long emotional road for everyone involved in this case. One court hearing after another proved there were very blurred lines as to what actually happened during one night of drinking in a dorm room. Jack Ly’s attorney, Bobby Howlett, spoke briefly after Monday’s hearing.

“I think the Commonwealth made a good decision in the plea agreement that they offered us,” Howlett said. “I think the strength of their case was very weak.”

The victims, who were not ODU students, alleged that they met Ly and Evans at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, exchanged numbers and Evans picked them up later on that night. They admitted to drinking on the way to ODU, and again when they arrived at Evan’s and Ly’s room. But that’s where the victims reported experiencing symptoms consistent with the use of date rape drugs that left them unable to resist unwanted sexual encounters by Ly, Evans and Wilkins, who entered the room, too.

“There was no evidence of any date rape drug whatsoever, and the alcohol levels were extremely low,” Howlett said. “I think one of them was .0 and the other a .1.”

There was a documented time lapse, though, from the time the alleged encounter took place and those tests. And the defense countered that during that time, surveillance cameras showed the two women hugging the men at an elevator and leaving on their own to rides they arranged with clear minds.

On Monday, Evans, Ly and Wilkins entered an Alford guilty plea to misdemeanor sexual battery and had their sentences, from 12 to 24 months, suspended.

“I’m glad it turned out the way it did,” said Howlett. “Of course my clients have maintained their innocence the entire time.”

In total, Howlett’s client only served around two weeks in jail. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office sent this statement about the case:

The totality of the evidence, physical and testimonial, doesn’t prove force; therefore, the indictments were amended to Sexual Battery to accurately reflect the evidence in the cases.

The men involved will be on unsupervised probation for three years and can have no contact with the victims.

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