No criminal charges in Gophers football sexual assault investigation

The attorney's office has been reviewing the 80-page report done by the school's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
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Nobody will be criminally charged in connection with the investigation into sexual assault claims made against Gophers football players.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office said Friday afternoon that, after reviewing a report by the U of M’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA), they found "no new significant evidence" that would allow them to bring criminal charges.

Ten days ago the office said it was reviewing that report, which included a detailed account of what the victim said happened to her in a Dinkytown apartment on Sept. 2. She described a line of men who took turns having sex with her, even though she objected and told them to stop.

The report, the attorney's office noted, "shined a light on what can only be described as deplorable behavior."

"And while the university’s investigation included a handful of new interviews, the information elicited was not significantly different from the information presented to this office following a thorough investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department," the office said.

The earlier investigation

Following the alleged Sept. 2 incident, several football players were investigated for sexual assault. In October, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said there wasn’t enough evidence to file any charges against them.

But the accusations did prompt the EOAA to conduct an independent Title IX investigation into the players’ conduct. The 80-page report, which was published online by KSTP, led to the 10 players being suspended from the team earlier this month.

That's the report the attorney's office had been reviewing, before saying Friday it wouldn't bring criminal charges.

The players have denied the accusations, and their teammates threatened to boycott the Gophers’ bowl game, but days later backtracked.

The players could still face further discipline from the university.

MPR recently did a story about how campuses are often able to punish students for sexual assault easier than the court system can, because the burden of proof is lower. Read that story here.

Meanwhile Traecy Claeys is facing an uncertain future, with calls from the outside for the first-year head coach to be fired. He's slated to speak with Athletics Director Mark Coyle about his job soon.

Sexual assault on campus

Nearly 300 sexual assaults were reported to Minnesota colleges in 2015. That’s according to a report by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus had 47 assaults reported. That’s the most of any college in the state. Less than 10 of those ended with a discipline greater than a warning. The U has about 50,000 students.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, as many as one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

However, more than 90 percent of assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.

Information by RAINN – which has lots of information on sexual assaults – says people often don’t report assaults for a number of reasons. Some of those include victims believing it’s their own problem to deal with, being afraid of reprisal, or not wanting the offender to get in trouble.

If you’d like to get help or talk to someone about an assault, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673.

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