No charges in University of Minnesota wrestling sexual assault investigation

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday he is not filing charges in the criminal sexual assault investigation involving members of the University of Minnesota wrestling team.

Two Gophers wrestlers who were arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct in June were released from jail without charges, but prosecutors said the investigation remained active.

At the press conference Friday, Freeman said there was not sufficient evidence to prove there was an assault beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Freeman continued, saying given Minnesota’s current laws regarding intoxication and a victim’s ability to give consent, his office was working under some “significant constraints” while prosecuting this case. 

He called on the state Legislature to make changes to the state’s sexual assault statute to align more with Wisconsin’s, which is a broader law that gives prosecutors more discretion. 

“This office, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and others have pushed the Legislature, so far unsuccessfully, to adopt something similar to the Wisconsin intoxication law,” Freeman said. “The 2020 Legislature should seriously consider making changes to the sexual assault statute this spring.” 

The University of Minnesota Athletic Department announced they lifted the athletes' suspensions.

"We became aware today of the Hennepin County Attorney’s decision to bring no charges against two of our student-athletes," read the statement. "In accordance with our Student-Athlete Code of Conduct, we have decided to lift the suspension of the student-athletes involved. They are immediately eligible to rejoin team activities."

Lee Hutton, who represents one of the wrestlers, released the following statement following the decision by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office:

“The [redacted] Family is relieved and pleased that after 100 plus days this event is over.  [He] has missed matches and has not been able to participate in the sport he is so passionate about.  Now, we are hopeful that he will be able to reengage with the wrestling community and participate in athletics without issue moving forward.”


According to an incident report from the St. Paul Police Department, the 911 call originated from a home in that city. A male reported his friend was sexually assaulted between 1:20 a.m. and 3:10 a.m. early Saturday morning, June 15. The police report from the Minneapolis Police Department says only that the victim reported the alleged sexual assault and went to a hospital for treatment.  

The 911 transcript from St. Paul police reveals a few details, mostly right at the beginning of the alleged incident.

“Hi, so we have a um…a friend who seems to be sexually assaulted and is not ok,” the caller said. “She left with a couple guys and she is absolutely bawling her eyes out and doesn’t know what happened.”


The university suspended the two wrestlers from team activities following the arrests.

“We are aware of a situation involving two of our student athletes and are in the process of gathering more information,” the university said in a statement. “These students have been suspended from all team activity pending further information. Federal and state law precludes any further details at this time."

Chista Groshek is the attorney for one of the two athletes. She told FOX 9 in June that she doubted the case would result in charges and that her client denies doing anything wrong.  

“He fully cooperated, he gave more than one statement,” Groshek said. “And he did that because he felt he has nothing to hide, so he talked.”

The University of Minnesota has dealt with several high-profile cases involving student athletes last year, including a top basketball player who was accused of sexual assault and misconduct. He was never charged, but was suspended when an internal investigation found he violated the code of conduct. He then left the school.

In 2016, a group of football players were suspended after being accused of sexual assault, some of which filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. The attorney for the players in that case, Lee Hutton, said what strikes him is how quickly the two wrestlers were arrested, which he says indicates there may be stronger evidence.