York football player closer to trial in Erie sex-assault case

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A former York Catholic High School star football player cleared of robbery charges in York County is now facing trial in Erie County on sexual assault charges.

But the defense attorney representing Jakkar Kinard said he's confident a jury will exonerate his client.

Jakkar Kinard

Kinard, 19, of York City, remains free on $25,000 bail, charged with sexual assault and indecent assault.

He's accused of sexually assaulting a drunken woman during a Halloween-night party hosted by Mercyhurst University baseball players.

Kinard is no longer a student at Mercyhurst, defense attorney Farley Holt has said.

Holt drove from York to Erie on Friday, Jan. 26, for Kinard's preliminary hearing. At the close of it, a district judge determined enough evidence exists for Kinard to stand trial in Erie County Court, according to court records.

"Based on the testimony of the (alleged) victim and her best friend, I feel confident that I'll be able to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that my client didn't commit the two offenses he's charged with," Holt told The York Dispatch.

More:York Catholic football star avoids criminal record

The allegations: According to charging documents, Erie Police were called to the college's public-safety building about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 31, where a woman told them she'd been raped at a party held at a house on Pine Avenue where Mercyhurst baseball players live.

The woman told police Kinard had sex with her in a bathroom there, according to charging documents.

She said she blacked out after drinking alcohol and doesn't remember how she wound up in the bathroom or how her pants ended up getting pulled down, documents state. 

Two days later, Kinard spoke with police. He admitted having sex with the woman, documents state.

Those documents also allege Kinard told police he knew the woman was drunk and had seen her "stumbling" around the party.

York Catholic's Jakkar Kinard, right, is one of the leading returning players in the York-Adams League.

'Consensual': Holt has said the sex between Kinard and the 19-year-old woman was consensual and that the woman initiated the contact.

Holt said that during his cross-examination of the young woman at Kinard's preliminary hearing, she admitted "she could have possibly said yes" to the sex. He noted that's reasonable doubt.

"Her friends say she was stumbling around and slurring words and that they were concerned about her," Holt said. "But they weren't concerned enough to keep an eye on her the whole evening."

He also noted that testimony revealed the woman had no trouble walking up and down the home's stairs despite her apparent level of intoxication.

York County case: Kinard was accused in May of participating in the robbery and assault of an acquaintance in York Township.

However, the victim in the case, Kenyaan Williams, said Kinard didn't participate in either the assault or the robbery. Williams said Kinard did watch the assault.

Kinard pleaded guilty in York County Court on Dec. 27 to the summary offense of disorderly conduct. He was fined $100 and ordered to pay court costs.

Summary offenses are akin in seriousness to traffic tickets.

Jakkar Kinard enjoyed a standout football career at York Catholic. He has signed to play NCAA Division II football at Mercyhurst College in Erie.

As part of his agreement, charges of simple assault and harassment against him were dropped. Robbery charges filed against him were withdrawn in June at Kinard's preliminary hearing.

Holt called his client's plea "an obvious compromise" and said Kinard shouldn't have been charged with anything because he wasn't involved.

Standout player: Kinard helped York Catholic to possibly the best season in the school's history. The Irish finished 10-2 in 2016, which included York-Adams Division III and District 3 Class 2-A championships.

York Catholic also earned a  state 2-A playoff berth.

That fall, Kinard led the York-Adams League in rushing for the second consecutive year, totaling 2,071 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns.

In two-plus seasons, Kinard finished with 3,594 yards in his career for York Catholic. He led the York-Adams League in rushing and was a two-time York-Adams League Division III all-star.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.