Former NBA player Ben McLemore arrested for first-degree rape

Lake Oswego police said that the sexual assault happened in early October 2021, while McLemore was with the Blazers. A grand jury chose to indict him in February.

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Former NBA player Ben McLemore, who played 64 games with the Portland Trail Blazers two seasons ago, was arrested at the Portland airport on Tuesday on accusations of first-degree rape and other sex crimes.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said McLemore was arrested Tuesday morning on an outstanding warrant out of Clackamas County and booked into the Clackamas County Jail.

McLemore, 31, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Clackamas County Circuit Court. He faces charges of first-degree rape, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse.

According to a statement from the Lake Oswego Police Department, the assault happened on Oct. 3, 2021, while McLemore was with the Trail Blazers. A woman came forward to report that she’d been sexually assaulted at a home in a wealthy Lake Oswego neighborhood, identifying McLemore as the suspect. She reported the crime the same day.

RELATED: Former Trail Blazer Ben McLemore charged with rape: Why it took almost 3 years for him to be charged and what’s next

Police said that they collected evidence and connected the survivor with a victim’s advocate, and detectives launched a lengthy investigation. During that time, McLemore moved out of state and began traveling frequently overseas as he played basketball in other countries, which police said resulted in “delays in the investigation.”

A Clackamas County grand jury heard evidence in the case in February of this year, including testimony from the survivor, and issued an indictment against McLemore, accompanied by an arrest warrant. U.S. Marshals arrested McLemore at the Portland International Airport on Tuesday.

“We applaud the courage of the survivor to come forward and put herself through this arduous process, and we will continue to support her in any way we can,” police said.

McLemore issued a statement Thursday, as reported by Shams Charania with The Athletic, denying the allegations and claiming McLemore has fully cooperated with the investigation. 

RELATED: Former Trail Blazer Ben McLemore denies rape allegation in statement: NBA Insider

The statement said in part: “I am not accused of using physical force to rape someone. Rather, I am accused of engaging in sexual activity with someone who now claims she did not consent.

“I did not rape this woman. I am not sexually abusive. I have never pursued a sexual relationship when I understood the woman was not interested in me and acting willingly.

“The allegation dates back to October of 2021, during a time I played in Portland. It will take some time for us to uncover the facts. At this time, the prosecution has not provided my attorneys with any reports or evidence.

“My attorneys and I cooperated fully with the investigation. I met every request they made of me, immediately and professionally. I indicated that I was interested in testifying in the grand jury but was refused that opportunity. When my attorneys were informed of the charges, we immediately made plans for me to return to the United States for the first court appearance — and informed all law enforcement authorities and the Court of my travel plan. I could not have done more to assist in the process.

“The truth will come to light. I am confident we will prevail and my name will be cleared.

“Thank you all for your support. I appreciate all of you and am confident this will turn out as it should.”

McLemore played nine seasons in the NBA, averaging 9.0 points per game in 556 games over his NBA career.

The Sacramento Kings selected McLemore with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft out of Kansas. He ended up playing for five different teams: the Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Blazers in his final NBA season. 

During the 2021–2022 season, McLemore played 64 games for the Blazers, averaging 10.2 points in 20.1 minutes per game. 

After the 2021-22 season, McLemore played professional basketball overseas, signing contracts with teams in China, Greece and Spain, most recently, with Río Breogán of Liga ACB in Spain.

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