Crime & Courts

With his accuser a few feet away, ex-Charlotte 49ers quarterback Kevin Olsen pleads not guilty to rape charges

Ex-UNCC quarterback Kevin Olsen entered a not guilty plea to rape charges

Ex-UNCC quarterback Kevin Olsen entered a not guilty plea to rape charges.
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Ex-UNCC quarterback Kevin Olsen entered a not guilty plea to rape charges.

With his accuser in the room and a plea offer from prosecutors on the table, ex-Charlotte 49er quarterback Kevin Olsen pleaded not guilty Thursday to raping his former girlfriend.

Olsen, the 22-year-old brother of Panther tight end Greg Olsen, now faces trial on a series of charges, including three counts of second-degree rape, forcible fondling and two counts of misdemeanor assault on a female.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison for each rape charge.

Olsen was arrested in February and indicted in May. UNC Charlotte officials said this week that Olsen has been suspended from all athletic activities, removed from the football team roster and is not enrolled in classes for the current semester.

Former UNC Charlotte quarterback Kevin Olsen, shown with his attorney George Laughrun at a preliminary hearing, went on trial Monday facing three counts of second degree rape involving his former girlfriend. Davie Hinshaw

His arraignment before Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin was brief. Assistant District Attorney Kristen Northrup read the charges aloud. Olsen stood silently to the left of defense attorney George Laughrun as the lawyer told Ervin that Olsen had refused the prosecution’s offer of facing a lesser charge in return for a guilty plea.

Afterward, neither Laughrun nor the district attorney’s office would say what the plea deal had been.

Olsen, who towered over his attorney, slipped into the courtroom with his parents while another case was being discussed. Unlike his arrest mug shot, when Olsen wore a scruffy blond beard and a glazed look, the former football player was clean shaven, his hair was shorter and he wore a blue suit.

On the other side of the room, his former girlfriend and her family sat two rows behind the prosecutor’s table.

When Olsen’s case was called and Olsen stood up to walk to the front of the courtroom, the former UNCC student who accused him of repeatedly raping her in February took a deep breath.

Moments after the hearing ended, she walked out of the courtroom with her family – Olsen and his attorney pausing in the aisle to let them leave first. The accuser looked away as she walked past her former boyfriend.

Olsen was arrested Feb. 19 in connection with an incident at his apartment in University City near the UNCC campus.

According to Northrup, Olsen and the then-23-year-old woman went out drinking earlier that night but had gotten separated during the evening.

During their time apart, Olsen sent the woman a text message threatening to kill her, Northrup said. After the pair eventually reunited and returned to Olsen’s apartment, he remained upset about the night and “some events in his life,” Northrup said.

At one point, Olsen grabbed a phone charger and wrapped it around his neck, threatening to kill himself, the prosecutor says.

The victim, according to Northrup, calmed Olsen down. But the argument flared again.

Olsen first struck her with a pillow, then punched her in the face before raping her three times, the prosecutor said.

When Olsen fell asleep, the woman slipped out of the apartment and called a friend, Northrup said. Olsen later turned himself in.

Olsen, a one-time top high school football recruit who played for his coach father in New Jersey, ended the 2016 season as a backup quarterback for the 49ers.

He was thrown off the football teams at the University of Miami and Towson State due to off-field disciplinary problems involving drugs and driving under the influence.

His trial has not been scheduled.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS