So many times we hear of men being accused of rape or pedophilia; and there is always that little voice in the back of my mind that asks, “But what if he didn’t do it? How could he prove this?
*My, how the tables have turned.
Brian Banks, 27, was once a promising young high school football prospect.
His realization of playing at the collegiate level was just beyond reach. Then suddenly, the brakes we’re slammed on his future. Banks’ life as he knew it was brought to ruin by a young female student who accused him of rape during his senior year at Long Beach Poly High School.
Wanetta Gibson claimed that she was ravished on campus by the football star. The alleged incident sparked a schoolwide controversy, and even prompted media attention. Despite his pleas of innocence, Banks was found guilty, and sentenced to prison.
However, it was later discovered that Gibson had grossly embellished her story to the judge. In other words, she knowingly fibbed in a court of law. Banks was subsequently released from prison in May 2012.
Gibson’s infraction will cost her–big time.
In response to her dishonesty, the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) has ordered Gibson to return $2.6 million, which includes the $750,000 settlement she received from the district as well as interest, legal fees and $1 million in punitive damages, reports show.
“The court recognizes that our school district was a victim in this case,” school Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “This judgment demonstrates that when people attempt to defraud our school system, they will feel the full force of the law.”
The judgment may turn out to be largely symbolic: Gibson didn’t show up in court and apparently has long since blown through the $750,000.
Court records in other cases Gibson has been involved in indicate that she and her children have received public assistance.
After Banks was released from prison, Gibson contacted him, and he secretly recorded a conversation in which she acknowledged that her rape claim was false. Among the statements Gibson made on tape were, “I will go through with helping you, but all that money they gave us, I mean, gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back.”
Banks is now hoping to jump-start his football career as a 27-year-old rookie for the Falcons.
*Good things are happening for Brian Banks.
Banks, if you recall, unfortunately served 5 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit.
However, on Wednesday, 10 months after his release that followed a California judge throwing out his conviction, Banks learned he’ll be wearing an Atlanta Falcons uniform.
“Aside from getting my life back and my freedom back, this is the biggest accomplishment of my life,” he told reporters during a conference call.
As he signed the contract, he wore a sweatshirt that showed a California license plate that said “XONR8.”
“We are pleased to have Brian join our team,” said Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. “We had a chance to work him out last year and have been monitoring his progress since then. He has worked extremely hard for this chance over the last year and he has shown us that he is prepared for this opportunity. We are happy that Brian will have a chance to live out his dream of playing in the NFL, and we look forward to seeing him on the field.”
A year ago, he was out of prison on parole, wearing an ankle monitor as a registered sex offender. The contrast with this week’s events is “surreal,” Banks said.
“Talk about coming from the bottom,” he told reporters. “I know all too well what that is and what it looks like and what it feels like.”
While serving time in prison, Banks said he was forced to abandon his hopes of playing in the NFL someday.
“I had to watch my class go on and receive scholarships and play collegiate football on a high level,” he said. “For me I had to let those dreams go for me to focus on what was ahead of me, and that was five years in prison. That was a completely different life of violence and being away from your family. … Football was the last thing on my mind, and it wasn’t until a few months before I was actually being released from prison that I thought about possibly trying to play football again.”
With prison behind him and now a chance to live his dream and play in the NFL, Banks is on top of the world.
You can read more about Brian Banks’ signing with the Falcons at CNN.
*It’s not the NFL, but it is a professional football team that Brian Banks is becoming a member of.
Any way you look at it, it’s a win because the one-time high school football star has overcome incredible odds. Banks was recently exonerated in a California rape case in which he was falsely accused
The 26-year-old, who plays linebacker, is signing with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.
The team confirmed the news in a statement Wednesday.
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Banks served more than five years in prison following a conviction a decade ago on rape and kidnapping charges. The woman later recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name.
Banks and the Locomotives will announce the signing at a news conference Thursday.
Locomotives coach Jim Fassel, a former NFL coach, says the team is pleased to give Banks “an opportunity in football that was denied him years ago.”
After being exonerated, the former Long Beach Poly linebacker has been given the opportunity to try out with the Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, and Kansas City Chiefs during private workouts.
The 26-year-old has shown some potential and headed back to Seattle on Wednesday for the next step of his journey.
He participated in the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp on invitation from head coach Pete Carroll. Interestingly enough, Banks gave Carroll a verbal commitment while he coached at USC a decade ago.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to have a number, a jersey … I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here,” Banks said. “I got to my locker and saw there was a jersey in it – number 43. And I just wanted to take a picture of it just for myself. It’s just amazing to see my name on the back of it. It’s an honor to be taken serious and to be given this opportunity.”
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