No Charges for 10 Players in Gophers Sexual Assault Case

University of Minnesota football players received suspensions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2016 4:58 PM CST
No Charges for 10 Players in Gophers Sexual Assault Case
Minnesota players celebrate after beating Washington State 17-12 in the Holiday Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, in San Diego.    (Denis Poroy)

Ten suspended Minnesota football players will not face charges in connection with an alleged sexual assault near campus, prosecutors announced Friday after taking a second look at the case. It's the second time the Hennepin County attorney's office has weighed in on the September incident that triggered suspensions, possible expulsions, talk of a bowl game boycott, and questions of whether coach Tracy Claeys should continue with the Gopher football program, the AP reports. County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to press charges in October, citing a lack of evidence. After reviewing the troubling details of the school's own investigation, Freeman said it didn't add enough information to warrant criminal charges. "That report shined a light on what can only be described as deplorable behavior," Freeman said in a statement. He said he would have no further comment because the university's appeal process was continuing.

The school suspended the 10 players after completing its own investigation, the results of which it kept private, citing federal privacy laws. But a local TV station published a redacted copy of the 82-page report which quoted the woman as saying she believed 10 to 20 men had sex with her, though she was not certain. She told university investigators she was too traumatized to clearly remember events. Five players told police they had consensual sex with the woman at an off-campus dorm. Four of them were suspended for three games early in the season, but later reinstated in October. After the school's investigation, which has a lower standard of proof than criminal charges, the school announced on Dec. 13 that those five players were suspended and another five were out for the bowl game as well. All 10 players are awaiting a university hearing to appeal their suspensions. Several players face permanent expulsion from the university, while others could be suspended for a year. (More University of Minnesota stories.)

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