Kellen Winslow II trial: Defense claims sex was ‘immoral’ but ‘not against the law’
For more than an hour, Kellen Winslow II fidgeted in his seat as district attorney Dan Owens painstakingly laid out the graphic, gruesome rape allegations against him that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.
Former NFL star Kellen Winslow Jr., already accused of kidnap and rape, was jailed after being slapped with new allegations of lewd conduct while out on bail and awaiting trial on the earlier charges.
According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, the 35-year-old son and namesake of San Diego Chargers Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow was charged as a result of alleged actions with two counts of lewd conduct, one count of battery of an elder, and one count of willful cruelty to an elder.
The charges — all misdemeanors — stem from two incidents involving a 77-year-old woman at a gym in Carlsbad, California, said San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
On Feb. 13, Winslow Jr. was exercising near the woman at the gym when he allegedly touched himself and asked the woman if she liked it, said Owens.
On Feb. 22, Winslow Jr., allegedly wearing only a towel, entered a hot tub where the same woman was sitting and engaged in lewd conduct. He allegedly touched her arm, and then her foot as the woman exited the tub to report the incident, said Owens.
At last, it was time for Winslow’s high-priced defense attorneys to unveil their strategy to combat the mountain of evidence against him.
In a brief opening statement that lasted barely seven minutes, attorney Brian Watkins portrayed Winslow as the victim of money-hungry accusers, media hysteria and mistaken identity. Watkins told a Southern California jury on Monday that Winslow “has been in the spotlight since he was young” and “when you’re in the spotlight, people want things from you.”
The only transgression Watkins conceded Winslow committed was infidelity to his wife of nearly 13 years. Watkins told the jury that the former all-pro NFL tight end was unfaithful “numerous times,” but that he has never raped anyone.
“It was sex,” Watkins said. “No-strings-attached sex. It’s wrong. It’s immoral. But it’s not against the law.” The approach Watkins took was noteworthy because it ensures that Winslow’s attorneys will not be putting the sport of football on trial.
Watkins could have argued that his client’s alleged sexual misconduct was a result of mental illness caused by brain trauma from playing football and could have put a spotlight on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This would have been the ultimate Hail Mary given that there’s currently no test for CTE on a living person, nor is there more than anecdotal evidence that CTE can lead to violent behavior.