Man Arrested For Neglecting Southport Congolese Basketball Recruit

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Man Arrested For Neglecting Southport Congolese Basketball Recruit

Raymond Truitt brought Nickens Lemba to the U.S. and neglected him once he was enrolled at Southport, court docs say.

SOUTHPORT, Ind. -- The man who brought the boy at the center of a recruiting scandal at Southport High School to the United States has been arrested for neglect.

Raymond Truitt is the man who brought Nickens Lemba, 15, to the U.S from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Court documents say Truitt went to the Congo in the summer of 2019 looking for young boys who might be able to have a successful career in basketball in the U.S.

The documents say Truitt convince Lemba's mother to sign custody of Lemba over to him. He was then given a student visa and sponsorship to attend Rock Creek Academy in Sellersburg. Somehow, Lemba ended up not attending the school as he was un-enrolled by Truitt.

When Truitt enrolled Lemba at Southport High School he listed himself as Lemba's father instead of "other". The documents also detailed that Lemba had poor attendance in classes and spoke very little English.

Not long after, Truitt began leaving Lemba with coaches and other families for longer periods of time, not providing him with basic necessities. A teacher, Thomas Wright, eventually took Lemba into his home and became his legal guardian not long after.

It was then Truitt refused to turn over Lemba's passport and visa to Wright in an attempt to extort money out of Wright and his wife in exchange for all the documents. Wright called the police and reported the missing documents as theft and Truitt was arrested. He has not been formally charged yet by the Marion County prosecutors office.

It was during this time it's believed that head basketball coach Eric Brand paid over $5,000 on Lemba's behalf to stay at Southport. That led to the IHSAA banning the Southport boys' basketball team when the school only levied a two-game suspension on Brand for the infraction.

Both sides met last week and the IHSAA agreed to drop the post-season ban. In exchange, Brand has been suspended for the remainder of the basketball season starting in January.

(PHOTO: Marion County Jail)

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