Kellen Winslow II sentenced to 14 years

Former NFL football player Kellen Winslow Jr., center, leaves his arraignment Friday, June 15, 2018, in Vista, Calif. The former tight end was arrested Thursday on charges of rape and other sex crimes, the day he was to appear in court on an unrelated burglary charge. (Hayne Palmour/San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool)

Calling former NFL player Kellen Winslow II “a sexual predator,” a Vista judge on Wednesday, March 3, sentenced the namesake son of the Chargers’ legend to 14 years in prison for his 2019 convictions for rape and other crimes involving sexual misconduct.

Winslow’s sentence was expected. He had been looking at a range between 12 to 18 years after his conviction for raping a homeless woman and other charges, convictions reached at trial and through guilty pleas.

In court Wednesday, March 3, Bowman, who presided over the trial, dismissed statements from Winslow’s attorney that Winslow’s behavior could have stemmed from repeated head trauma sustained from years of football, noting that one of the incidents happened before the defendant’s pro career.

“That leaves us with someone who can only be described in two words — and that is a sexual predator,” Bowman said before sentencing Winslow. “That’s what Kellen Winslow II is. He’s a sexual predator. He preys on vulnerable victims and is very brazen in the way he carries out his crimes.”

The hearing was held via video, as has been common in light of COVID-19 safety requirements during the pandemic. Winslow, who has been in custody for two years, participated from a county jail in Otay Mesa.

One of them, a then 58-year-old homeless woman who Winslow befriended in 2018, testified that she’d agreed to get coffee with him one night, but he instead drove his Hummer to a secluded spot and attacked her.

“That man is not a good man,” the woman said in the hearing Wednesday, March 3. “I don’t think you know how truly dangerous that man is.”

She spoke of living in continual fear. “If you don’t think rape affects a human being, you’re damn wrong,” she said.

The judge also heard from a 54-year-old Encinitas resident who’d been hitchhiking for a ride down the street when Winslow picked her up in March 2018. She said he assaulted her behind a shopping center.

“I was so scared when he raped me,” the woman wrote in the letter, which Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens read aloud. “He scared me so bad, knowing now that he was my neighbor, and I couldn’t believe that an NFL football player would take advantage of me.”

In June 2018, Winslow was arrested and accused of raping the homeless woman and the hitchhiker, as well as of committing other offenses targeting women in coastal North County. Winslow pleaded not guilty.

After news of the criminal case broke, another accuser came forward, a woman who said Winslow raped her at a house party in 2003, when she was 17 and he was 19. Winslow was charged with that incident as well.

A year later, his trial ended with a split verdict. A North County jury found him guilty of raping the homeless woman. The panel also found he’d exposed himself to a 57-year-old neighbor and had committed lewd behavior in front of a 77-year-old woman in a Carlsbad gym. The gym incident happened while he was out on $2 million bail awaiting trial in the rape case.

But the jury deadlocked on other charges, including the alleged rapes of the hitchhiker and teen girl.

Five months later, as his retrial was about to start — the jury was waiting in the hallway — Winslow agreed to plead guilty to two charges: sexual battery of the hitchhiker and the rape of an unconscious person — the teen girl, who had been drinking the night of her encounter.


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