November 19, 2018 10:09 AM
The University of Minnesota authored an 80-page report after conducting an investigation into 12 Gophers football players.
University officials have said they cannot comment on their rationale for the discipline 10 players received due to privacy restrictions. However, the basis for their decision is laid out in a confidential EOAA report obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
The Minneapolis Police Department conducted its own investigation into accusations involving football players at an apartment in Dinkytown on Sept. 2.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS is releasing both documents because we believe it is important for community members to be able to read and evaluate for themselves what Minneapolis police found in their investigation of the incident and what the University of Minnesota’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action investigation concluded.
Both documents are graphic in nature.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has redacted any identifying information related to the woman involved in the alleged incident. The name of the player who received the letter from the University of Minnesota's Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity has also been redacted. These were in addition to redactions in the documents as originally obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
5 EYEWITNESS News dug into the many questions swirling around the Gopher football player investigation and the differences between the two reports.
The evidence reviewed by University investigators and police appears to be different, including cellphone video of the alleged sexual incident.
Minneapolis police had three video clips from a player's phone, including one that was 8 seconds; the other two totaled 92 seconds, according to the police report.
The University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action report reviewed by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS mentions two videos reviewed totaling 12 seconds.
Instead, records show the EOAA obtained a redacted version of MPD's description of the 90-second video.
In its more than 80-page investigation, it appears EOAA investigators questioned at least 12 players and 16 other students, while the 23-page Minneapolis police report mentions at least five athletes interviewed along with the woman.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s office provided 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS a statement earlier this fall about their review of the case.
“The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office reviewed a case investigated and submitted by Minneapolis Police against several Minnesota Gopher Football players. Based on the evidence available, the county attorney’s office is declining to file any charges. There is insufficient, admissible evidence for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either force was used or that the victim was physically helpless as defined by law in the sexual encounter. This office will have no further comment on the case.”
University Standard of Evidence
According to the University’s investigative report reviewed by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, their investigators wrote about looking at a variety of evidence, including redacted police reports, but they did not get evidence from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
“EOAA determines whether sexual assault or harassment occurred using a preponderance of the evidence standard. In other words, EOAA determines whether it is more likely than not that the alleged sexual assault or harassment occurred.”
"Effective immediately, we will boycott all football activities," said senior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky. "The boycott will remain in effect until due process is followed and the suspensions for all 10 players involved are lifted."
Wolitarsky made the statements at Rod Wallace practice field on the university campus with his teammates lined up behind him.
"We the united Gopher football team, issue the statement to take back the reputation and integrity of our program and our brothers who have faced unjust investigation without due process," Wolitarsky said. "We're concerned that our brothers have been named publicly with reckless disregard in violation of their constitutional rights. We are now compelled to speak for our team and take back our program."