We first encountered this sad saga a year and a half ago when veteran BigSoccer maven Matrim55 POSTED THIS PIECE about the rape prosecution of former UCSB midfielder and 2007 Kansas City draftee Eric Frimpong, a native of Ghana.
The alleged victim, known only as Jane Doe, was a freshman at UC Santa Barbara in 2006 when the Gauchos won the NCAA Championship due in large part to Frimpong's contributions.
Doe is (or was at the time) a girl with serious alcohol issues and a known history of blackouts who presented at a hospital with a BAC of between .20 and .29, claiming that she had been raped by Eric Frimpong.
As we all know .08 is considered legally intoxicated for most purposes and, just for clarity's sake, .35 is considered medically anesthetized to the point where surgery can be performed.
The medical examination showed absolutely no trace of Frimpong's DNA anywhere in or on Jane Doe or her clothing and, despite her claim of a fiercely violent sexual assault and struggle on the beach (she claims she hit him so hard that her "knuckles were messed up") there were no cuts, bruises or abrasions anywhere on Frimpong's body.
The police, in a manner frighteningly reminiscent of the Duke lacrosse case, helpfully suggested details about the rape which she herself only later "recalled" (due, she admits, to not remembering much of anything about the entire incident).
For her part, Doe's story changed - and continued to change (again reminiscent of the Duke case) - every time she told it.
The police immediately proceeded to arrest and charge Frimpong without even a cursory examination of any other possible perpetrator, including Doe's sometime lover, whose DNA was, in fact, found in her underwear and who was, in fact, known to be in the vicinity at the time of the assault.
Eric Frimpong now sits in the California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi, serving a six year sentence for rape, convicted by an all-white jury which was not allowed to see or hear from various suppressed witnesses who contradicted the story the police wanted told.
(If you have a particularly strong stomach, you should definitely check out THIS PIECE which describes how using the occasion of Martin Luther King Day to publicize the judicial lynching of a young black man is in poor taste. There are some incredibly stupid people running around.)
Bottom line, there's enough prosecutorial misconduct, police malfeasance and judicial bias here to cause any fair minded person to wonder whether, in fact, the prosecutor and law enforcement so badly wanted a win in what they themselves told people was a "high profile case" involving a "sports star" - not to mention a black kid accused of rape - that it begins to appear that Frimpong didn't receive anything like a fair trial.
The Duke lacrosse players were from extremely wealthy families who hired the very best representation that money can buy, and it appears that Nate jaqua has found a distinguished white-shoe lawyer who ought to be able to present a seriously competent defense.
But Frimpong, who woke up this morning in prison - and is reportedly being taunted by police and corrections officers, largely because he's a soccer playing black kid - is represented by a court-appointed appeals attorney who faces a long, hard fight to get this case reviewed.
Frimpong's mother makes $60 a month and lives in a mud hut.
I'm figuring Jaqua will get justice in the end. I'm not worried about it either way.
Eric Frimpong, on the other hand, needs people to stand up for him.