During his brief return to a Mecklenburg County courtroom Wednesday, former Charlotte 49ers quarterback Kevin Olsen sat an aisle removed from the woman who has accused him of rape.
But not for long.
Moments after Superior Court Judge Bob Bell denied Olsen’s request to have the monitoring device he’s worn for almost a year removed from his ankle, the defendant sat with his parents for a few seconds. Olsen then rose and rushed down the center aisle, disappearing behind the doors he had parted with an audible slap of his hand.
Defense attorney George Laughrun followed his client out of court, calling “Kevin, Kevin,” in an apparent attempt to get the 23-year-old to stop. Laughrun later acknowledged that Olsen was disappointed that Bell had denied his motion without explaining why.
“There’s no reason for Kevin to have a monitor,” Laughrun told the Observer. “What good is it going to do? Where is he going to go?”
Olsen, the brother of Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, is charged with three counts of second-degree rape and a series of other charges stemming from the alleged 2017 assault of his then-girlfriend in his apartment near the UNC Charlotte campus. According to prosecutors, Olsen threatened to kill the woman when they became separated during a night of drinking. He later wrapped a phone chord around his throat and threatened to kill himself once he and the woman returned to his apartment near the UNC Charlotte campus. The assaults soon followed, prosecutors say.
Olsen has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is tentatively set for fall. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison for each rape count.
On Wednesday, Laughrun argued that the former football player had proved he is not a flight risk. Olsen has worn the ankle monitor for 357 days and not violated either his curfew or the court-ordered boundaries of his parents’ home, Laughrun said. Banned from the UNCC campus, Olsen is taking online classes at the school to earn his last four credits for graduation, according to his attorney.
Throughout the past year, he has not tried to contact his alleged victim, who Laughrun says now lives outside of Mecklenburg County.
“She is absolutely the last person anybody in the Olsen family wants to have contact with, including Kevin with a capital K,” Laughrun said during a phone interview.
Olsen is among 351 people on pretrial release in Mecklenburg County who are wearing court-ordered ankle monitors, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. The devices allow CMPD to monitor the locations and activities of criminal defendants who have been freed on bond as they await trial.
Assistant District Attorney Kristen Northrup told Bell that Olsen stands out because he “has more resources than anybody in the courthouse” to flee if he so chooses.
CMPD says 82 defendants illegally removed their monitors last year; all but three have been recaptured.
According to Northrup, Olsen’s accuser remains a UNCC student. She still has a restraining order against Olsen, and still worries about her safety, the prosecutor said. The Observer does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
At one point, Northrup spoke of Olsen’s history of substance abuse and mental health issues, an apparent reference to Olsen’s alleged threat to kill himself the year before, and episodes of drinking and drugs that led to his removal from football teams at two previous universities.
Northrup told Bell that the woman was willing to testify if the judge was inclined to grant Olsen’s request. That proved unnecessary.
Ten minutes into the hearing, Bell apparently had heard enough.
“Motion denied,” he said.