Two University of Minnesota wrestlers arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct were released without charges Tuesday, but they remain suspended from the team, campus officials said.
Gophers star wrestler Gable Steveson, 19, and teammate Dylan Martinez, 21, were arrested late Saturday and held at the Hennepin County jail. The county attorney faced a deadline of noon Tuesday to charge the two or release them. But the investigation isn’t over and charges remain possible.
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The County Attorney’s Office said that it will work closely with the Minneapolis Police Department over the next 90 days to review the evidence against the two. In the meantime, the wrestlers are suspended from the team, the University Athletics Department said, citing the student-athlete code of conduct.
The code reads that athletes arrested for, charged with, or under investigation for criminal allegations will be suspended from their team pending resolution of the investigation or at the discretion of the athletic director. They can also face additional sanctions ranging from verbal reprimands to dismissal.
Outside the jail, Steveson’s attorney, Christa Groshek, said he maintains his innocence.
“He’s very thankful for a careful review by the county attorney,” she said. “My client will continue to cooperate, and we’re hopeful that this chapter can be over very soon so we can move forward.”
It is unclear whether Martinez has retained an attorney. He did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Also Tuesday, the St. Paul Police Department released a transcript of the 911 call they received Saturday regarding the incident.
Details from 911 call
A male caller, whose name was redacted, told the 911 operator that he had a friend at his house “that seems to be sexually assaulted and is not OK. She left with a couple guys and she is absolutely bawling her eyes out and doesn’t know what happened and they are just ...”
His comment ended abruptly and the operator asked for his name, whether he was with the victim and whether the two attackers were there. He said the woman was there, the attackers were not, and he provided an address on the 1800 block of Dayton Avenue in St. Paul.
The caller said of the woman, “She just up all ... and beside herself. She can’t even like, talk right now.”
The operator asked how long ago the incident happened and the caller said the victim had returned to the house five minutes before he called. The operator asked if he or the victim knew the men. The caller said he didn’t know who they were and couldn’t ask the woman because she was too upset.
After confirming a second time that the alleged attackers weren’t at the house, the operator said police would be sent.
The identity of the alleged victim and whether she’s also a student at the U is unknown.
On Sunday, after the arrests became public, the Athletic Department issued a statement saying two athletes had been suspended from team activity.
The case was referred to police in Minneapolis because that’s where the alleged incident occurred. The report said the two sexually penetrated a victim with an object, and that the alleged victim received treatment at the hospital.
The Gophers wrestling program is set to play host to the NCAA national championships in March 2020 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Steveson is a marquee athlete on the team with the potential to make the 2020 Olympic team for Tokyo.
In addition to criminal and code violations, the wrestlers could face an inquiry from the U’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA). That inquiry would be triggered by a complaint from the alleged victim to the office. Similar EOAA complaints have led to the departures of other high-profile athletes at the U.
In January 2018, star basketball player Reggie Lynch was suspended after the U’s EOAA found that Lynch had violated the university code regarding sexual misconduct and sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence. He left the U, but no criminal charges were ever filed.
In late 2016, 10 Gophers football players were suspended in connection with sexual assault allegations. Ultimately, nine of the players filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming they were subject to racial and sexual discrimination in the U’s internal investigation. The lawsuit is pending.
The Gophers wrestling program was still somewhat rebounding from a scandal three years ago that led to the firing of veteran coach J Robinson and suspension of four wrestlers. The scandal involved an alleged drug ring among athletes involving the anti-anxiety medication Xanax.
Steveson has been a wrestling star since his days in Apple Valley, long before he came to the U. As a Gophers freshman, he scored 35 victories and two losses and finished third at the 2019 NCAA Championships.
Martinez has two years of eligibility remaining with the U after not wrestling last year. Before joining the Gophers, he wrestled for Fresno City College and was a two-time California Community College champion. He wrestled for Clovis (Calif.) High School and contributed to its 91 consecutive dual meet victories.
Staff writer Libor Jany contributed to this report.