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Odim sentenced to probation in sexual-assault case

By Janice Gregorson

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Two years ago Isaac Odim was an honor student and standout football player at Century High School, with plans to play at Yale University.

But within days of graduation, he was charged with sexually assaulting two girls whom he knew and who were intoxicated.

Today, the 20-year-old is attending Rochester Community and Technical College and playing football.

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He also is now a convicted sex offender and on intensive probation for the next four years, ordered to comply with a very long list of requirements that includes registering as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

In June 2005, Odim was charged in separate complaints with two counts of felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one gross misdemeanor count of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

A plea agreement was reached last month under which Odim pleaded guilty to two gross misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and the felonies were dismissed.

Judge Joseph Chase acknowledged Odim’s achievements in both academics and athletics as he sentenced Odim this afternoon.

"But all you have achieved on the football field to date, and all you achieve in the future will never counterbalance the harm you did to those two girls," Chase said.

Prosecutor Lisa Swenson said the two victims wanted closure and didn’t want to testify at trial.

She told the judge that the victims have both suffered a great deal as a result of the assaults. One, she said, started college and had to drop out because of anxiety issues. The other is now in college, but has panic attacks and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. In both cases, Swenson said, they were friends with Odim. They trusted him.

As a special condition of his probation, Swenson and court services asked that Odim not be allowed to own or use a camera or camcorder. Swenson said that in this case, Odim took degrading pictures of his victims when they were intoxicated, in one case after one of the girls had passed out with vomit on her face.

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Defense Attorney George Restovich argued against that provision and one that would have required Odim to have prior approval from probation officers before having any contact with minor females.

Restovich said there were no minors involved in the incidents in this case and called that type of restriction unfair. The same with the camera ban.

"At what point do you forfeit all your rights?" he asked, saying Odim is giving up rights that were not an issue in this case.

Restovich said sanctions should be reasonable and protect the community from reasonable fears and threats.

Restovich also pointed to Odim’s success as a straight-A student in college and said he is doing all he can to make amends.

Swenson said she hopes people will hold Odim accountable and not just look at the athlete, "but what he has done here."

Chase did not impose the sanction that Odim have no contact with minor females without approval, but he did order Odim to not use or own a camera or camcorder.

The judge also put him on intensive supervision for four years, ordered him to do 300 hours of community work service and pay a $1,000 fine or do an additional 100 hours of community work service.

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Odim apologized to the victims and to everyone affected by his actions. He said that he has come to realize the gravity of how his actions have affected others.

"I take full responsibility for what I have done," he said.

The judge told Odim that if he doesn’t "get it" now about how his actions have damaged the victims, "I bet you will when you have a daughter and you will look back on this and wince."

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