A trial has been scheduled for Oregon State University football player Joe Rudulph, who is accused of punching a National Guard soldier in November. The 12-person jury trial is set for April 25, and a trial readiness hearing is slated for April 14.
Corvallis police arrested Rudulph at his home Nov. 12, accusing him of assaulting Staff Sgt. Gabriel Sapp outside the Headline Cafe just after the downtown bar closed for the night.
Though some witnesses characterized the fight as racially motivated, a Benton County grand jury declined to charge Rudulph with intimidation—Oregon’s equivalent of a hate crime.
Rudulph, 20, faces two charges of fourth-degree assault and one charge each of harassment and disorderly conduct. If convicted on all charges, Rudulph could face about a year of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines and fees.
A conviction could also result in his being kicked off the football team, OSU officials have said. Rudulph and three teammates involved in the altercation—Anthony Wheat-Brown, Whitfield Usher and Ryan Rainwater—have been suspended from the team indefinitely.
Cliff Kirkpatrick, Mail Tribune (Medford, Or.), Nov. 14
STANFORD, Calif.—Joe Rudulph was suspended indefinitely by Oregon State football coach Mike Riley on Saturday morning.
The redshirt freshman was arrested Friday morning for allegedly assaulting a National Guardsman on leave from Iraq at the Headline Cafe, according to Capt. Jon Sassman of the Corvallis Police Department.
Rudulph, a second-string defensive end, was charged with fourth-degree assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. His initial arraignment is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 in the Benton County Courthouse.
“I’d rather not remark on it,” Riley said. “I need to find out more. I just know enough to know I needed to suspend him. Individually, and for our team, we are very upset about this.”
Rudulph traveled with the Beavers to the game at Stanford, but did not dress down and stayed on the bench. He declined to comment.
According to Sassman, Rudulph and two other unidentified OSU football players instigated the incident with Staff Sgt. Gabriel Sapp and his wife.
Sapp returned to Iraq Friday. He’s a squad leader assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, 39th Brigade Combat Team.
Sassman said there were racial comments by the football players, who are black, to Sapp’s wife, who is also black, about her relationship with a white person.
Sapp was hit in the face and knocked out when he hit the ground.