claims she was raped by footballER:
Disappointed in Solskjær: – It was rotten, what he did
OSLO/MOLDE/MANCHESTER (TV 2): Footballer Babacar Sarr (29) is currently wanted internationally, accused of rape. Now his accuser, Kamilla Visnes (28) voices her opinions on football manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær's handling of the case.
August 12th, 2018. Molde FK had just defeated SK Brann, with a 5-1 result at Aker stadium in Molde, Norway.
A clearly pleased Ole Gunnar Solskjær, then manager for Molde FK, described the game as the best performance he had ever seen from any team he had managed thus far in his career.
Simultaneously, an uncomfortable question was looming amongst journalists after the match.
Sengalese footballer Babacar Sarr had played a full 90 minutes – a controversial matter at the time. Two days prior, Sarr was meant to appear in a Norwegian court, accused of rape.
Solskjær was therefore forced to answer questions regarding the accusations, and why he had let Sarr on the field.
Solskjærs response was as follows:
«We have chosen to trust him, believe him. I think he has handled this situation very well.»
Subsequently, the now Manchester United manager, directed any follow-up questions to Moldes club management.
Sarr has maintained his innocence with regards to accusations of rape. Sarr claims he and the woman accusing him of rape, had consensual intercourse. The woman, 28-year-old Kamilla Visnes, claims the rape took place in an apartment following a night out in May of 2017.
Sarr was subsequently charged with rape.
International arrest warrant
The criminal case against him resulted in Sarr being found not guilty. However, the judges presiding over his case did not agree. A legally qualified judge was convinced Sarr was guilty of rape, whilst two lay judges had doubts with regards to the question of guilt.
The three judges did, however, agree that Sarrs explanation did not make sense. Ultimately, the court ruled that Sarr was obligated to pay his accuser a compensation. The total amount was 150.000 Norwegian Kroner (NOK), which is the equivalent of 15.000 Pound Sterling (GBP).
The public prosecutor subsequently filed an appeal.
Today, closing in on three years since the accusations of rape first surfaced, the court case against Sarr ceases to be finalised. The 29-year-old has failed to appear in court. This led to Norwegian prosecutors issuing an international arrest warrant for Sarr, through Interpol.
Refuses to comment
Sunday, Kamilla Visnes told her story to TV 2.
She says she is disappointed with the way Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Molde FK handled Sarrs case, which was ongoing from May of 2017, until he left Molde FK in January of 2019.
According to TV 2's research, Sarr played 60 games for Molde after being charged with rape. During this period he has been Moldes captain for several matches.
Visnes has struggled to deal with this.
– Seeing such a well-known person as Solskjær giving Sarr the responsibilities of captain, it scared me. I remember questioning his values, Visnes says.
She was particularly disappointed when Solskjær publicly supported Sarr as the case against him was ongoing.
– At that point, I felt that the burden was solely on my shoulders. Solskjær doing that, it was rotten, she says.
TV 2 has made several attempts at confronting Solskjær with Visnes' comments. None of these requests have been met.
Solskjær was however confronted by a British journalist with questions about the court case against Sarr. The United-manager made it clear that he would not comment on the case, beyond the following:
– This case is being dealt with by the Norwegian judicial system. We need to respect that process. I wouldn't want anyone to end up in a situation like that - that is unpleasant for anyone. That is my response.
Left the city following rape accusations
Visnes had her whole life in Molde when she accused Sarr of rape. She had an apartment, a job and a network of friends in the city. Following the rape-accusation however, she moved back home to her father.
She simply did not feel welcome in the city anymore.
– Molde is a football city. It was hard for me feeling like I was the one who «stole» one of the best players from the team. I felt that a lot of people were supporting him, she explains.
Visnes says she felt the club supported Sarr, and that she herself did not receive any support from them.
– It felt like he was being protected, supported and honoured. I only wish the club could have remained neutral and decided not to comment on the case whilst it was ongoing, she says.
Molde FK: – Conflicting opinions
TV 2 has reached out to Molde FK. They have declined multiple interview requests, but released the following statement in an e-mail:
«This is a serious and demanding case, and we have a great deal of sympathy for the aggrieved party. When Molde FK made the decision not to suspend the player, it was made based on how the case was evaluated at that time. It was emphasised that the player had no previous convictions. We understand that there are conflicting opinions in this matter.
It is important to highlight that the incident has nothing to do with MFKs formal responsibility as an employer. The subsequent judicial process is between the aggrieved party and the player. MFK is not a party in this matter. If the person has done something punishable by law, it is very serious and disappointing, and in clear breach of the club's values».
Played in Russia and Saudi Arabia
One month before the appeal case was due in the court of appeals, Sarr was released from his contract with Molde.
His football career continued in the Russian Premier League, before playing for Damac FC in Saudi Arabia. By mid-january of this year, Sarr was released from his contract with Damac FC. He is currently not associated with any football club.
Neither Russia, nor Saudi-Arabia, has an established extradition treaty with Norwegian authorities.
TV 2 has repeatedly reached out to Sarr for comments, without any response. According to his attorney, Mette Yvonne Larsen, the footballer failed to appear in court because he was not judicially summoned. The court has subsequently denied this claim, but the decision is now being appealed to The High Courts.
The public prosecutor remains firm in statements that by not appearing in court, Sarr is effectively withholding from judicial proceedings. In Norway, a criminal trial cannot go ahead for serious crimes if the suspect is not present. This differs from other judicial systems, such as the UKs.
– In retrospect, was it a mistake not to arrest Sarr before he left the country?
– We probably should have arrested him. However, we felt that we made the right decision at the time, prosecutor Ingvild Thorn Nordheim says.
Will not reveals Sarr's location
Sarr's defence team cannot confirm that the footballer will in fact appear in court for the appeal case.
– The case has not been listed to be heard, and I do not know when it will be listed. We have not discussed this, Mette Yvonne Larsen explains.
Larsen emphasises that it is not usual for her to reveal the location of her clients, and for that reason, she will not do so with regards to Sarr either.
– How are you communicating with Sarr?
– No comment. I am in contact with him, but I will not elaborate on what type of contact it is, she says.
– How has he reacted to the arrest warrant issued by Interpol?
– He finds it to be a burden. It is strange that he is acquitted but at the same time wanted by Interpol, Larsen says.
In addition to the case involving Kamilla Visnes, Sarr is also under investigation for a rape that allegedly took place in the Norwegian town Sogndal, in 2014. Furthermore, he was recently charged with a rape in Oslo, but this case was dropped due to an internal mistake in police proceedings.
Sarr has maintained his innocence in these cases as well.
Translated by Julie Moon Fjell, TV 2.