An underage football recruit was involved in the alleged sexual assault on Sept. 2 that led to the suspension of 10 University of Minnesota players, according to police records, court testimony and a university report.
The recruit acknowledged having sex with the woman early that morning, but denied raping her, according to a police report.
In court testimony and police interviews, the alleged victim, a student at the university, alleged that the recruit and at least a dozen other men raped her. The Hennepin County Attorney’s office announced in October that there would be no charges in the case.
As part of the school policy for student-athlete visits, the university has a prohibition against the “use of sexual activity as a recruiting device.”
University spokesman Evan Lapiska said the recruit’s involvement was not reported to either the NCAA or the Big Ten because the school does not believe that a rule violation occurred.
The University’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action report on one of the players, obtained by KSTP, concludes that he “engaged in sexual misconduct by sexually assaulting and harassing another University of Minnesota student.” The report confirmed that the incident involved a football recruit.
The woman reported to police on Sept. 3 that she was assaulted in an off-campus apartment. According to the report by Minneapolis police Sgt. Matthew Wente, the woman, player Carlton Djam and the recruit told officers they engaged in sex.
The recruit told Wente that the woman was not distressed or unconscious, and was “actively speaking to him as he left,” the sergeant wrote.
At one point, Djam used his phone to videotape the woman and the recruit having sex, according to the police report. Later, Djam sent a message to another player, Ray Buford, that he and the recruit had sex with the woman, the report says.
According to the EOAA report, several text messages that night indicated that the recruit and one of the players planned to “double team” the alleged victim.
According to the players’ attorney, Lee Hutton, the school recommended expulsion for Djam, Buford, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson. The attorney said the university’s EOAA office recommended one-year suspensions from the university for Seth Green, Kobe McCrary, Mark Williams and Antoine Winfield Jr., and probation for Antonio Shenault.
The recruit didn’t respond to a request to speak with the university’s EOAA office during its investigation, according to the report.
“We are not currently investigating the recruit’s sexual contact with [the woman] because he is not a current University member,” the report said.
Speaking with the Star Tribune on Thursday, the recruit’s mother confirmed that her son was involved in the incident, but declined to say anything further. The Star Tribune isn’t naming the recruit because he is a minor.
In a Sept. 2 tweet, he wrote that he was enjoying his official visit and posted a photo of himself standing with head coach Tracy Claeys. According to his recent social media postings, the recruit has since ruled out the University of Minnesota as one of his options.
On Thursday, Gopher football players announced their intention to boycott the upcoming Holiday Bowl in solidarity with their punished teammates.
Testimony revealed recruit
The involvement of an underage recruit in the alleged sexual assault was first revealed during a Nov. 2 court hearing when the woman sought to uphold a restraining order she filed against the players.
The players’ attorney, Hutton, attempted to argue that the woman was the one who raped the recruit, since his age makes him a juvenile under Minnesota’s statutory rape law.
Hutton did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Asked about the recruit during the woman’s testimony, her attorney, Amy Isenor, instructed her client to invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege, the constitutional right to decline to answer potentially incriminating questions.
Judge Mel Dickstein initially allowed questions, but following continued objections by Isenor he retreated to his chambers to review the law. When he returned, Dickstein told Hutton he “understands that Mr. Hutton is trying to demonstrate that 609.344 has been violated.”
That law makes it a crime if “the complainant is at least 16 but less than 18 years of age and the actor is more than 48 months older than the complainant and in a position of authority over the complainant.”
“I don’t know how that’s relevant to the inquiry,” the judge told Hutton.
Dickstein told him he would allow testimony on whether the recruit was present, but not whether there was any sexual contact.
Brandon Stahl • 612-673-4626