An offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles has been acquitted of the rape and kidnapping charges that likely kept him from playing in this year’s Super Bowl.
The allegations stemmed from December 2019 when a young woman, identified only as “M.M.,” reported that Josh Sills, then a member of the West Virginia University football program, had raped her in his vehicle. The two, who had attended high school together in Guernsey County, Ohio, had met up at a bar on December 5, 2019, and Sills had driven M.M. and her cousin home that night. After the cousin exited the vehicle, Sills refused to let the M.M. leave, she claimed, and then forced her to perform a sex act on him.
Though the incident allegedly occurred more than three years earlier, Sills was not indicted by a grand jury in Guernsey County until February 1, 2023, just two weeks before the Eagles were set to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. On account of the indictment for rape and kidnapping charges, the NFL placed Sills on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, which prevented him from practicing or traveling with the team. Sills later pled not guilty.
On Friday, Sills’ case was handed to the jury. In less than three hours, the jury had reached a verdict: not guilty on both counts. Sills, now 25, expressed his thanks to the jury, the judge, and his family before once again asserting his innocence. “I’ve done nothing wrong,” Sills said after the verdict had been read, “and I’m glad that was proven today.”
BREAKING: NFL Player Shows No Emotion After Learning Verdict in Rape Trialyoutu.be
During the trial, Sills’ attorneys had argued that the encounter between Sills and M.M. had been consensual. They also referred to M.M. as the “girl who cries wolf,” Law&Crime reported.
“(Sills will now) be able to build his football career and grow as a person and be successful in all of the things that he chooses to do,” defense attorney Michael Connick said after the verdict on Friday. “It’s unfortunate he was accused of this. It cost him a Super Bowl appearance. … He will move on and live his life in a very honorable fashion.”
Attorney General Dave Yost said that while he disagreed with the verdict, he respected the jury’s decision. “In America, criminal convictions require proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Yost said in a statement. “The jury did not see it, and I thank them for doing their duty under the law.”
Sills, who is originally from Sarahsville, Ohio, spent three years playing for West Virginia University before transferring to play for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2020 and 2021. He went undrafted in 2022 but signed with the Eagles as a free agent. He has appeared in just one career NFL game — against the Arizona Cardinals in Week Five of the 2022-23 season — and logged four snaps.
Despite the limited game time, Sills was listed second on the depth chart for the right guard spot and was expected to see some playing time in Super Bowl LVII, an exciting game in which the Chiefs ultimately prevailed 38-35 on a last-second field goal after a controversial holding penalty assessed against Philadelphia.
The Eagles’ official website still includes Sills on the team’s roster, though he is listed as “exempt.” His attorney, Connick, claimed that Sills intends to rejoin his teammates in the coming weeks. The Eagles organization did not respond to a request for comment from Law&Crime.
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