A former Proctor, Minnesota high school football player has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a younger teammate in an incident that shocked the city and led to the cancelation of his team's football season.
The 18-year-old, who was 17 at the time of the incident, appeared in Duluth juvenile court on Tuesday. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, the teen will receive a juvenile court punishment, enforced until age 21, and the case will remain in juvenile court.
He will serve an additional adult sentence if he violates court orders, according to court documents.
The teen was charged in January with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Bring Me The News does not name juveniles charged with crimes if they are being tried in juvenile court.
On Sept. 7, 2021, the teenager — with others around — held down a 15-year-old teammate, pulled down that person's shorts and underwear, and used the wooden handle of a toilet plunger to penetrate the victim's anus.
The charge came after a monthslong review of the incident, which began in late September in response to misconduct allegations involving players on the varsity football team. The school canceled the team's season, with the matter going to the police department, which in October referred the case to the county attorney's office.
Shortly after the season was canceled, the head coach of the football team resigned. Derek Parendo had been head coach since 2008. Superintendent John Engelking is retiring at the end of this school year, but noted that the issues with the football team in the past "will be addressed."
According to the petition, the football team "had used the plunger in 'crass locker-room behaviors,' such as one player touching another with the rubber end."
The St. Louis County Attorney's Office described the investigation as "unnecessarily complicated and delayed" due to the "voluminous amount" of social media posts that included speculation and rumors that had to be addressed.
The teenager will next appear at a disposition hearing on June 20.