Minnesota Reaches $500K Settlement in 2016 Rape Case Involving Football Players

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 29, 2020

TCF Bank Stadium prior to an NCAA college football game against Minnesota and South Dakota State, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

The University of Minnesota has reached a $500,000 settlement with a woman who said multiple football players sexually assaulted her at a Dinkytown apartment on Sept. 2, 2016.

Josh Verges of the Pioneer Press provided details regarding the former undergraduate student's claims:

"The woman told authorities she was coerced into having sex with a Gopher football player and a high school recruit at a team apartment after drinking shots of vodka following the team’s first game of the season.

"Several more football players soon arrived to watch or take turns having sex with the woman against her will, she said."

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman decided against pressing charges, providing this reasoning to 5 Eyewitness News:

"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."

Minnesota initially suspended 10 players indefinitely, but the school's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action department ultimately decided on "varying levels of discipline" for that group in 2018, per Verges. 

Five players were suspended or expelled.

Per Verges, the law firm of Hutchinson Black and Cook represented the woman in this settlement. The Colorado law firm has previously reached settlements with other schools where football players have been accused of sexual assault, including Colorado, Arizona State and Florida State.