Minnesota players accused of sexual assault, harassment, retaliation
Several University of Minnesota football players have been accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment and retaliation in the past year, according to a report from the Star Tribune. Those allegations did not result in criminal charges.
The Star Tribune reported the news Thursday after obtaining emails involving ex-Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague, who resigned in August over sexual harassment allegations.
Kimberly Hewitt, the school’s director of equal opportunity and affirmative action, wrote in a July 16 email to Teague that her office had concerns regarding team-related complaints including two reports of sexual assault “committed by individual players,” two reports of sexual harassment involving “groups of football players” and a report of retaliation of involving “a group of football players.”
Hewitt told the Star Tribune Thursday that these issues were raised during the 2014–15 academic year but refrained from sharing specifics. A university spokesman said no police reports were ever filed, according to the Tribune.
Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said Thursday that he had been aware of one allegation involving a current player. “I’ve taken care of the report that we received on a young man. We turned it into the administration and it was handled by the administration,” he said. The Star Tribune reported that Kill initially denied knowing about any such incidents, before admitting he knew of that allegation and another incident involving a group of freshmen players. “When something happens, we take care of it,” Kill said. “And if it’s a kid that’s guilty, he’s taken care of.”
Hewitt wrote in her email that one of the sexual harassment complaints had been investigated by the university, which determined he had violated school policy. The retaliation complaint found “concerning behavior by football players” but did not produce evidence of a policy violation. The other complaints were not investigated, she wrote, because the students that reported them chose not to go forward with an investigation.
The Star Tribune also reports that the University of Minnesota is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights for potential violations of Title IX, which bans sexual discrimination at federally funded schools. That investigation stems from an anonymous complaint filed in 2014 claiming that Minnesota spent more on male sports than female sports and was discriminating against female athletes.