Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. broke his silence Tuesday, calling the rape allegations he’s facing from three different women a ‘money grab,’ and insisting he is innocent in the face of multiple charges that also include kidnapping, indecent exposure, and burglary in connection with his July arrest.
In June, Winslow, 35, was ordered to stand trial on charges of kidnapping and raping two women earlier this year in Encinitas, California – a 54-year-old hitchhiker and a homeless 58-year-old woman. Later, an additional charge of raping 17-year-old girl during a party in San Diego in 2003 was added. Winslow, the son and namesake of the legendary Chargers tight end, was 19 at the time.
Prosecutors say the recent attacks were part of a three-month crime spree targeting middle-aged and elderly women.
‘Yeah, man, I’m innocent, you know?’ Winslow told KSWB outside a California courtroom. ‘To the people who know me out there, who know what type of person I am, know my character, my NFL friends and family, and just my regular friends and family, they know who I am, and I’m an innocent guy. I’m an innocent man.’
He went on to claim that his accusers are trying to get rich.
‘It’s a money grab,’ he said. ‘It’s a money grab and unfortunately, that’s the society we live in now. And you know, that’s all I got. Thanks.’
He was also arrested in June on burglary charges, which were later reduced to misdemeanours.
A trial date has not been set yet, but if convicted, he faces life in prison.
In July, Winslow seemed to have good shot at getting his rape case thrown out after three alleged victims failed to identify him in court on Wednesday.
The 54-year-old hitchhiker who says she was kidnapped and raped in March, pointed to Winslow’s attorney, Brian Watkins, when asked to identify her attacker.
Another woman, who was gardening when a man exposed himself to her, said she didn’t get a good enough look at the assailant.
Winslow Jr. grew up in San Diego before attending the University of Miami and getting drafted sixth overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2004 NFL Draft.
He played 10 seasons for five teams, and had his best year in 2007 when he finished with 1,106 receiving yards and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl team once.
Winslow Jr. was also charged with drug possession in January 2014 but received a conditional discharge after being accused of having synthetic marijuana.