Prosecutors say there will be no charges for Minnesota football players accused of gang rape, CBS reports.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman made the announcement Friday after considering the school’s own findings in the incident.
The September accusation led to suspensions, possible expulsions and a potential bowl game boycott.
The university investigated, producing an 80-page report that catalogued the victim’s sexual assault by 10 to 20 men on the team their first game. Ten University of Minnesota football players were suspended and their teammates briefly boycotted team activities in solidarity with the accused.
Freeman’s office reviewed the school’s report to examine discrepancies between what students told the school and criminal investigators. In the end, Freeman stood by his original decision not to charge anyone, despite the fact that the school’s report, “shined a light on what can only be described as deplorable behavior.”
“Reviewing the full report and comparing it to the criminal investigation file shows no new significant evidence that would enable prosecutors to bring charges against any individuals that could be sustained under our much higher standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Freeman said. “As a result, our decision not to bring charges remains unchanged.”
Lee Hutton, the players’ attorney, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message or email from the Associated Press seeking comment. The university said in a statement it respects Freeman’s decision, but noted their own suspensions of the players stem from different standards and policies than the criminal process Freeman worked through.
The school tried to keep the report secret, but a TV station published a redacted version of it in which the victim says she believed 10 to 20 men had sex with her, but she can’t remember. She said the trauma of the incident made it hard to recall.
The report found the victim’s account of that night was more credible than the players, some who tried to obstruct the investigation.
Five players: Carlton Djam, Dior Johnson, KiAnte Hardin, Ray Buford Jr. and Tamarion Johnson said they had consensual sex with the woman at an off-campus dorm. Four of them were suspended for three games, then reinstated.
After the school’s investigation, it announced those five were suspended and Antoine Winfield Jr., Seth Green, Mark Williams, Kobe McCrary and Antonio Shenault were out for the bowl game as well.
All 10 players are appealing their suspensions. Some face permanent expulsion from the university, while others may be suspended for a year.
Their head coach, Tracy Claeys, may be fired as well.
(image via NBC News screengrab)