A former NFL player has pleaded not guilty to felony charges for allegedly kidnapping, raping or burglarizing several elderly women.
Kellen Winslow Jr., a former tight end for teams including the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, was arrested Thursday for offenses including allegedly raping two women in his Hummer H2, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
He pleaded not guilty on Friday to all charges and was denied bail. He faces life in prison if convicted.
The prosecutor in the case, Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens, said Winslow targeted victims he could exploit.
"These charges themselves are extremely serious, and it is clear to the people that these were committed against the most vulnerable victims in society," Owen said after the court appearance, according to the Associated Press.
All of the alleged crimes happened in Encitas, California, where Winslow, 34, lives. The first incident happened on March 17, 2018, according to court documents. Winslow allegedly lured a 54-year-old woman into his car and raped her. He was charged with kidnapping, rape and forced oral copulation. He did the same thing, documents said, on May 13 to a 59-year-old woman. He's charged with kidnap, rape and sodomy in that case. He allegedly told both women he would kill them them if they said anything, according to court documents.
Also in May, he allegedly approached a 55-year-old woman and exposed himself to her.
In two more incidents, Winslow is accused of entering mobile homes with the intention of raping the women inside.
On June 1, he entered the home of a 71-year-old woman, documents said, but left after being confronted. Then, on June 7, he went into the home of an 86-year-old woman but was seen by a neighbor, who called police. He was arrested on charges of burglary.
After his arrest, police kept Winslow under surveillance and said he may have been trying to sell his car to get rid of evidence. They charged him with the rape offenses in the other cases.
“The San Diego Sheriff’s Department, in the investigation of each of these separately reported incidents, did an excellent job tying all the leads together, being able to conduct a thorough investigation, which ultimately led to our ability to charge in this case,” Owens told The San Diego Union-Tribune after the hearing.
Winslow is the son of NFL Hall of Fame great and former Los Angeles Chargers players Kellen Winslow, who released a statement outside the courtroom Friday along with his son's wife, Janelle Winslow.
“On behalf of our son and my husband, we want to reiterate our love, support and affection for him during this difficult process," he said. "We will always be there for him and we know the true facts will come out.”
Winslow Jr. was a sixth-round draft pick in 2004. He played 10 seasons in the NFL, with the Cleveland Browns, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New England Patriots and then the Jets.
He was once the highest paid tight-end in the league, after signing a $29 million contract in his rookie year with the Browns, but he was suspended in 2013 by the Jets for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy. In November of that year, he was arrested after a woman told police she saw him masturbating in a car. He was charged with possession of synthetic marijuana, but not exposure. There were two open bottles of vaseline in the center console, according to an arrest report. The charges were later dropped.