SAN DIEGO – Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison for multiple rapes and other sex crimes against five women in Southern California, including one who was homeless when he attacked her in 2018.
The 37-year-old son of San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame recipient Kellen Winslow appeared by videoconference at the San Diego Superior Court hearing in Vista, a city north of San Diego. He declined to comment before his sentencing, saying his lawyers had advised him not to speak.
“Moving forward, I plan to tell my story,” said the former Cleveland Browns star, once the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
San Diego County Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman said Winslow can only be described in “two words and that he is a sexual predator.” The judge said he preyed on women who were especially vulnerable, befriended a homeless woman, picked up a 54-year-old hitchhiker and attacked a teenage girl after she fainted at a party.
Bowman called them “blatant” crimes. He noted that Winslow continued to attack women even after his first arrest. He performed a lewd act in front of a 77-year-old woman in a gym while hiding his GPS monitoring bracelet around her ankle with a towel. It was also exposed during that time to a 57-year-old neighbor who was gardening.
“The vulnerability of the victims was not an accident,” Bowman said. “It was the kind of victim you were looking for yourself because you felt that maybe the crime wouldn’t be reported” or “the jurors wouldn’t find it credible.”
The 14-year sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal. He was convicted of forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, assault with the intent to commit rape, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct in public.
The homeless woman who was raped in her hometown of Encinitas, a beach community north of San Diego, was one of four women who gave statements Wednesday, including a victim to whom the prosecutor read hers. . All described having suffered years after their attacks of fear and emotional trauma.
The homeless woman called the audience via video conference from the San Diego County district attorney’s office, where she was watching the process with another victim.
She said that since she was raped she has had trouble lifting her head and walking, and she is constantly afraid, she checks under beds and in closets, and cannot be alone.
“It is affecting my life every day and every night,” he said. “I never feel safe inside or out. You brought so much damage to my life. “
Once selected in the first round of the NFL draft, Winslow played for the Cleveland Browns, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. He made more than $ 40 million during his 10 seasons before leaving in 2013.
Winslow’s attorney, Marc Carlos, said he suffered head trauma from the many blows to the head playing soccer, which can only explain why he “derailed” from star athlete to predator. convicted sexual. You said your client has accepted responsibility and intends to get help.
Winslow was first convicted after a trial in June 2019 when jurors found him guilty of forcible rape and two misdemeanors: indecent exposure and lewd act in public.
The same jurors did not agree on other charges, including the alleged rape in 2018 of the 54-year-old hitchhiker and the 2003 rape of the unconscious 17-year-old high school student who went to a party with him when he was 19 years old. .
Before being tried again on those charges, he pleaded guilty to raping the teenager and sexually assaulting the hitchhiker. Those pleas avoided the possibility of life imprisonment.
The father of two, whose wife filed for divorce after being convicted, had faced up to 18 years in prison on all charges. But both parties agreed to reduce the charge from sexual assault to assault with intent to commit rape last month. That lowered the maximum sentence to 14 years.
Winslow must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.