NAIROBI, Kenya- The careers of local rugby stars, Frank Wanyama and Alex Olaba hang in the balance after they were charged in court with gang rape on Monday in a case that has gripped the country since budding singer, Wendy Kemunto went public on social media at the start of the month.
Wanyama, the suspended Kenya Harlequins RFC player and his friend Olaba were accused of taking turns to assault Kemunto on her birthday on February 10 and after investigations, the State preferred charges that if proven, could see them jailed up to 15 years.
The allegations have brought the fore the dark culture thought to be prevalent in local rugby circles where attracted by the physique and stamina of players, young ladies have fallen prey to sexual assault.
Most of these incidents have gone unreported with the Kenya Rugby Union announcing it would investigate the allegations soon after the Wanyama/Olaba scandal broke.
Kemunto claims she is now pregnant from the night-long incident, a factor that prompted her to spill the beans on the pair in a long Instagram post that went viral on social media as the month turned.
With their careers in jeopardy, Wanyama who was part of the Kenya 7s team Shujaa that made history by winning the 2016 Singapore 7s cup title and recently took part in the Victoria 7s triumph in Zimbabwe and his pal Olaba are at risk of joining a group of sporting heroes whose playing days have come to an end due to the criminal charge of rape.
SportPesa News highlights five famous sexual assault cases from around the world that saw careers or legacies tainted by randy behaviour.
Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding
Irish fly-half Paddy Jackson and Ulster team-mate Stuart Olding were sacked by their province and their contracts with the Irish Rugby Football Union terminated despite being cleared in a rape trial, the IRFU announced on April 14.
In a trial last month, both Jackson and Olding were acquitted of raping a woman in 2016 after a night out but an internal review by both Ulster and the IRFU decided the pair should be sacked.
For 26-year-old Jackson it brings a brutal end to a Test career, at least for the forseeable future, which had seen him earn 25 caps.
Prior to the incident, Jackson was the undisputed understudy to Irish great Johnny Sexton. Dashing centre Olding, 25, had won four caps although he was far down the pecking order in terms of the first-choice Test side even before the charges were brought.
Despite being unanimously acquitted last month the pair faced a backlash on social media, on the streets and in the mainstream media over unedifying text messages they exchanged on WhatsApp after the night out that led to the rape accusation.
A fellow Ulster team-mate, Craig Gilroy, has been suspended by the province until Thursday for a text message he sent to the pair.
Renowned boxer Mike Tyson dealt with a rape charge during the peak of his career in 1991.
Tyson was convicted of raping the then-18-year-old Miss Black Rhode Island Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison plus four years probation.
He served three years and was released in 1995. He went on to resume his boxing career and appear in films such as “The Hangover.”
Even if Tyson’s stardom was undisputed at the time, his career and personal life were on the ropes.
In a 1988 interview on 20/20, his wife, actress Robin Givens, had alleged that she was the victim of spousal abuse. She filed for divorce a week later.
In 1990, Tyson lost his heavyweight boxing title to James “Buster” Douglas, an upset for the ages.
But the knockout blow came in Indianapolis. Early in the morning on July 19, 1991, Tyson invited Desiree Washington, Miss Black Rhode Island, up to his room at the Canterbury Hotel. A day later, she checked into the emergency room at Methodist Hospital and reported that she had been raped.
On February 10, 1991 the jury returned a guilty verdict on one count of rape and two counts of criminal deviate conduct. An appeal led by “lawyer of last resort” Alan Dershowitz was unsuccessful.
Professional footballer and former Jamaica international striker, Marlon King has played for nearly as many teams as he has arrests, which number 14 dating back to 1997.
King has been charged with assault, theft, fraud, drunk driving, receiving stolen goods and most notably sexual assault.
The sex charge came in 2008 when he was punched a college student in the face and sexually assaulted her. Despite losing his contract with Wigan Athletic after he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the crimes in October 2009, upon his release he was signed by another club.
King sexually assulted a 20-year-old woman (whom he left needing hospital treatment for a broken nose and a split lip) in a Soho nightclub in December of 2008.
King played for famous teams such as Leeds United FC, Birmingham City FC, Watford FC, Nottingham Forest FC, Middlesbrough FC and Sheffield United FC where he scored 162 goals in 469 appearances in the English Premier League and Championship.
Few know the late Jamaican boxing heavyweight Trevor Berbick but he holds the distinction of being the last man to fight and beat the great Muhammad Ali.
After enjoying a long career riddled with legal troubles, Berbick was found guilty by a jury of raping a woman who worked as a baby sitter for his family in 1992.
The then 39-year-old Berbick was the champion in 1986 when Tyson knocked him out to take the title.
Berbick’s accuser, a 26-year-old woman who worked for two and a half weeks as a baby sitter for his family, gave 90 minutes of emotional testimony Wednesday regarding the incident, which occurred Oct. 31, 1990.
The jury deliberated for two hours before finding Berbick guilty of sex battery by physical force and burglary with assault.
His five-year sentence was reduced to only 15 months, which he served. Berbick however later violated his parole and in 1997, he was deported. In 2006, Berbick was murdered by his nephew and another man at a Jamaica church.
Retired NBA and Los Angeles Lakers superstar, Kobe Bryant sexual assault case began in July 2003 when the news media reported that the sheriff’s office in Eagle, Colorado had arrested him in connection with an investigation of a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee.
Bryant had checked into The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, a hotel in Edwards, Colorado, on June 30 in advance of having surgery near there on July 2, 2003 under Dr. Richard Steadman. The woman accused Bryant of raping her in his hotel room on July 1, the night before the surgery.
Bryant admitted to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser, but denied the assault allegation. The case was dropped after Bryant’s accuser refused to testify in the case. A separate civil suit was later filed against Bryant by the woman. This was settled out of court and included Bryant’s publicly apologizing to his accuser, though admitting no guilt on his part.
While the exact details of the incident remain unknown, Bryant has managed to recover pretty much all of his endorsements and general public goodwill in less than a decade.