The Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of ex-CFL receiver Emanuel Tolbert on Wednesday.

Tolbert was tried for and convicted of rape and violating a minor in 2001.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the rape plus four years for the violation, to be served concurrently.

Tolbert later pleaded guilty to a second violation and, deemed a habitual offender, was sentenced to another 16 years, again concurrently.

Tolbert was working as a substitute teacher when charged with raping three girls aged 14, 15 and 17.

Two of the teenagers attended Hall High School, where Tolbert was subbing; the other, nearby Forest Heights Junior High School.

When the principal of Hall High School reported the allegations to the district's Safety and Security Department, the latter alerted police.

Tolbert played 10 seasons in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders.

Signing with Saskatchewan in 1980, the speedy slotback played for Toronto from 1982-84 followed by Calgary in 1985-86.

Tolbert rejoined Toronto in 1989 but, in March 1990, was traded to the B.C. Lions along with Jearald Baylis, Rick Johnson, Tony Visco and Todd Wiseman for Matt Dunigan.

with files from CP Online