Five weeks after being arrested and accused of rape but still not charged by prosecutors with a crime, Lehigh Acres native Emmitt Williams returned to the basketball court for Orlando Oak Ridge High School over the weekend after missing the start of the season.
Williams, an elite national prospect who was between recruiting trips to top schools when he was arrested Oct. 18 on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment, played Friday and Saturday after missing the team’s first two games.
In an email to the News-Press, Orange County School District spokeswoman Lorena Hitchcock cited the district’s student code of conduct in the approval for Williams to play for Oak Ridge. It is not clear why he missed the team’s first two games.
“Our OCPS student code of conduct states that ‘any student who has been formally charged with a felony or similar offense by a prosecuting attorney shall be excluded from participation in extracurricular/co-curricular activities and athletics for a minimum of one calendar year. If the student is not found guilty or if the charges are dismissed, the student may return upon presenting documentation of the court’s decision.’
“Currently the player in question has not been formally charged by the State Attorney’s Office who has 180 days to file. All OCPS students are presumed innocent under the student code of conduct until formal charges are filed at which time the student loses the privilege of participating in extracurricular activities.”
Williams pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $13,500 bond on Oct. 24.
Eryka Washington, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office for the Ninth District, said Monday, “a filing decision has not been made yet on this case.”
Williams missed Oak Ridge’s first two games of the season, Tuesday and Wednesday last week. Social media outlets included coverage and highlights from his return Friday and Saturday for Oak Ridge, which is 4-0.
The Saturday game, against Orlando Christian Prep, was billed as a clash of top state title contenders. It featured the 6-foot-8 Williams against 6-foot-7 Nassir Little, who has verbally committed to national powerhouse North Carolina.
“The city came out tonight to see this matchup … and they did not disappoint,” Oak Ridge coach Steve Reece wrote on Twitter. “Great ball players with a bright future ahead. Both Great players and even better young men.”
“It was great to have him back,” Reece told the News-Press. “He’s been with the team the whole way. He’s been around the team.”
In a motion requesting bail in October after Williams initially was held without bond, his attorney, Dean Mosley, wrote that his release “would allow the Defendant to return to school and earn money to take care of his legal obligations while the case is pending.”
Mosley’s phone number listed with the case in Orange County Clerk of Court records directs callers to a second number, which was disconnected as of Monday.
“He hasn’t been formally charged,” Mosley told the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday. “He was arrested but no documents formally charging him with anything yet.”
Williams, 19, was arrested after being accused of holding a female friend against her will in her apartment in Orlando and raping her on Tuesday, Oct. 10, according to police and court records.
The victim told police Williams forced intercourse with her for several minutes as she repeatedly told him no and continuously tried to push him away, records show.
The alleged assault was reported to the Orlando Police Department the next day.
While with police, the victim’s friend had a text conversation with Williams in which Williams acknowledged having sex with the victim against her will, the arrest affidavit states.
In his bond request for Williams, Mosley wrote that “the proof of the evidence is not great,” and that the two parties were “in a consensual relationship.”