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UofM student, accused rapist pleads guilty to kidnapping

After more than two years have passed since two University of Memphis students were accused of raping the same victim, one alleged perpetrator has pleaded guilty to kidnapping, but not sexual assault, while the other was granted the motion to "go second."

Nicholas Wayman, indicted for rape and sexual battery of a University of Memphis student, has been a free man since paying his $5,000 bond hours after his 2017 arrest, according to Shelby County criminal court records. On Nov. 22, 2019, Wayman plead guilty to kidnapping even though his accuser willingly went to his home on April 1, 2017.

Kidnapping is described as confining or removing someone against their will. It can be as simple as locking someone inside of a house, according to Judge Chris Craft of the Shelby County Criminal Court.

"If someone robs a store and locks the clerk in the refrigerator, that's kidnapping," Craft said.

The choice by Wayman to plead guilty to kidnapping in a case about sexual assault may seem confusing, but the action is logical and fairly common. Sexual crimes cannot be diverted, while those guilty of kidnapping have the option of a diversion.

A diversion differs or puts off sentencing for a significant amount of time. If those on diversion stay out of trouble with the law, they can have everything expunged from their criminal record and face no jail time.

"Defendants who have no prior felony or Class A misdemeanor criminal record, and are convicted after a trial or after pleading guilty with no agreed-upon sentence, may have their sentencing diverted or deferred," Craft said.

The entire case against Wayman could be dismissed if he follows the requirements of his diversion. If he violates the requirements, like failing a drug test or breaking a law, he could face a jail sentence of three to six years.

The state, Wayman and his defense lawyer, Marty McAfee, agreed on the front end that if he plead guilty to kidnapping, he would receive a diversion. Wayman is set to return to court on Nov. 22, 2022.

"Had this matter gone to trial, the State's evidence would have shown that on April 1, 2017, the defendant knowingly removed or confined the victim...unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with her liberty under circumstances exposing her to substantial risk of bodily injury," said a representative of The State of Tennessee during Wayman's plea.

The other alleged perpetrator is Raymond Tate, who allegedly sexually assaulted the same victim. Represented by famed Memphis lawyer Leslie Ballin, his party was granted the motion to "go second" on Nov. 8, 2019.

The state's theory, which coincides with the victim's account, suggests that Tate raped her in retaliation to her exposing Wayman for raping her weeks before. Tate wished to be heard second, so Wayman could be called as a witness without infringing on his fifth amendment rights.

"The Counsel has been further advised that the Defendant and Wayman know each other and are fraternity brothers," read Tate's motion filed on Feb. 13, 2019. "Wayman would be a necessary witness to contradict the State's theory."

Tate has another motion date set for Feb. 18, 2020. The motion could be for a number of things, such as discovery, which is call to find and gather evidence.

The University of Memphis is not involved in these criminal cases but has been sued by the victim for $5 million over the aforementioned incidents. According to the lawsuit against the University of Memphis by the victim, the university did not do an adequate job handling the situation after it happened.

"Perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison than other criminals," reads a report by RAINN, Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. Data from the study shows that 20 out of every 1,000 reported robberies result in jail time, while only five rapes reported to police result in jail time.     

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