Actor Moses Armstrong was arrested in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria back in June and charged with the rape of a minor in a sensational story that made international headlines. According to a report by Guardian, Armstrong pleaded not guilty in court last week.
Back in June, The Daily Post reported that Armstrong had been arrested and held without bail. On Aug. 10, he appeared in court and was formally charged with rape, as well as supplying abortion drugs illegally to his victim. Armstrong reportedly pleaded not guilty to both charges, and focused on seeking bail for himself at his hearing. He was eventually granted release for a hefty sum. Disturbing new details of the case were also revealed for the first time on public record.
Armstrong's alleged victim was reportedly 16 years old at the time of his alleged crime. She is reportedly a girl that Armstrong himself had adopted and brought to live with him and his family. The headlines coming out of the courtroom now seem to have other actors and public figures distancing themselves from Armstrong.
Armstrong was a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and has appeared in four high-profile movies in Nigeria since 2012. Before that he starred in prolific video series going back to 2002. The AGN announced that Armstrong was suspended from the guild shortly after Monday's announcement, according to a report by Pulse. Armstrong was also a Special Assistant to Akwa Ibom State Gov. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, but that no longer appears to be the case.
Authorities said that Armstrong was charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl, but did not give further details on the case. However, the public letter of suspension signed by AGN National president Ejezie Emeka Rollas made allusions to the severity of the allegations and the strength of the prosecution's case.
"Actors Guild of Nigeria has been in the forefront of advocacy against violation of women, such as rape, molestation and all form of abuse therefore, the allegation against Moses Armstrong is capable of tarnishing the good image and reputation of our noble Guild if urgent action is not taken in accordance with the constitutional provisions of the Guild," it read. "Though it is our duty to protect our members when it comes to serious allegations, the law will have to take its course."
Armstrong will not be able to participate in any domestic film production during his suspension even after he is released from police custody. He will not be allowed to participate in guild activities either. If he tries to violate these rules he could face further disciplinary actions by the AGN. The guild has reportedly employed police aid in monitoring film sets to ensure Armstrong is not present.