Former NFL defensive end and Fox Sports commentator Marcellus Wiley is facing accusations of raping a Columbia University student 29 years ago during his tenure at the prestigious institution, according to a lawsuit, the New York Post reported.
The accuser, a sociologist specializing in race and culture, has filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court alleging that Marcellus Wiley, 48, assaulted her in the autumn of 1994. At that time, Wiley was a sophomore and a standout running back for the Columbia Lions. Wiley allegedly forced himself on the victim in her freshman dorm room and persistently ignored her verbal protests and robbed the girl of her virginity.
This traumatic incident reportedly led the victim to attempt suicide later on. "[Wiley's] actions were intentionally designed to cause plaintiff severe emotional distress or were taken with reckless disregard of the significant and/or substantial probability of causing plaintiff severe emotional distress," the lawsuit states.
The now-Ivy League professor claims that she and Wiley were friends at the time when he invited himself to her living quarters, expressing a desire to listen to music and have dinner together, the outlet reported.
The plaintiff set explicit boundaries with the 250-pound football player, telling him that she was a virgin and had no interest in engaging in a sexual relationship with Wiley.
"Ain't nobody tryna have sex with no virgin! Don't worry, I got you. Just coming to hang out while I eat. I don't even have condoms on me," Wiley allegedly told her while laughing.
Wiley allegedly almost immediately tore off the freshman girl's clothing and forcibly positioned her face down onto the mattress, according to the legal documents.
The victim recounted that she could barely breathe and felt her life was in danger as Wiley allegedly raped her on multiple occasions.
Despite managing to escape momentarily and attempting to retrieve her clothes, she claimed that Wiley verbally threatened her and physically pulled her back into bed for another round of sexual assault, the lawsuit mentions.
Following the attack, the victim confided in a friend and reported the rape to several Columbia University administrators.
However, she alleges that these administrators, allegedly harboring a "fondness" for Wiley, dismissed the assault in an attempt to protect the emerging football star's budding professional career.
Scarred for Life
According to the lawsuit, one of the administrators reportedly shared the victim's statement with Wiley, who "just disagreed that it's rape."
Residential Dean Kathleen McDermott, who died in 2011, allegedly accused the victim of misunderstanding the traumatic encounter, suggesting it was due to her birthplace in the African island county of Cabo Verde.
"McDermott then told plaintiff that, in McDermott's opinion, defendant had not actually raped plaintiff, because plaintiff was not from America and had therefore misinterpreted defendant's conduct because "people from different cultures interpret things differently," the lawsuit states.
Instead of being expelled, Wiley was reportedly placed on academic probation and directed to finish the Spring 1995 semester from his home in Los Angeles.
He was allowed to return to continue both his academic and sports pursuits, ultimately becoming the captain of the Lions and contributing to one of the team's most successful seasons in decades.
The victim and the friend who supported her in reporting the assault allegedly received a series of harassing phone calls in the months following the perceived lenient punishment.
"The following spring, while on mandatory leave, plaintiff attempted suicide. Plaintiff was admitted to a locked hospital ward for two weeks before being released," according to documents.
Upon Wiley's eventual return to the Manhattan campus, the victim claimed that she was compelled to share multiple classes with her alleged attacker, who was also studying sociology at the Ivy League institution.
She became involved in Columbia's chapter of Take Back the Night, an organization dedicated to ending sexual, relationship, and domestic violence.
Here, she connected with other women who reportedly shared distressing accounts of rape involving Wiley, both before and after her own assault.
Another woman alleged that she reported her rape to the school's athletics director, who opted to keep the accusations confidential until after Wiley participated in a game against rival Princeton.
Following his college career, Wiley went on to join the Buffalo Bills after being selected in the second round of the 1997 NFL draft. He played in the NFL for 10 seasons with multiple teams.
After concluding his professional playing career in 2006, Wiley worked for ESPN's "NFL Live" and co-hosted "SportsNation" before moving to Fox Sports and FS1.
It is claimed that Wiley was nominated for numerous alumni awards in the years following his graduation, with several allegedly redirected by the plaintiff, who, at the time, was employed by Columbia as the associate director of the university's Center for the Core Curriculum.