Jailed players released

No charges were filed against the three University football players accused of rape.

by Mitch Anderson

The three University football players accused of raping an unnamed 18-year-old woman were released from jail Monday. No charges were filed, but the investigation will continue.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he didn’t have enough evidence to press charges Monday and that the matter would need further investigation.

“In our society, if we don’t have sufficient facts at the time to make a charge, we have to let them go,” Freeman said. “That’s the rules, and we follow them.”

Freeman added that the players could still face charges.

Without charges or a judge’s permission, the three could only be held until noon. The players involved in the alleged incident were Alex Daniels and Keith Massey, both 20, and E.J. Jones, 19.

Attempts to reach the players were unsuccessful.

University police arrested the players Friday night as part of the investigation into the incident alleged to have happened at the University Village Apartments between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Although police executed a search warrant on one or more of the apartments in the building, police said details of the search would not be immediately available.

The three were suspended from the team until an investigation is complete.

The three players will continue to attend classes, University spokesman Dan Wolter said in a prepared statement, but have moved to off-campus housing while the investigation proceeds.

“These student-athletes are innocent until proven guilty,” Wolter said in the statement.

He also said that the University was cooperating with the investigation.

Jeff DeGree, the lawyer representing Jones, said his client was happy to be out of jail and felt the allegations against his client weren’t strong.

“They’re all good kids and great students,” DeGree said. “They’re not the kind of guys a coach worries about on Friday night.”

DeGree said he was concerned about the harm the allegations have done to the players’ reputations.

“Ultimately these are 19-, 20-year-old-kids, and I don’t know where to go to get their reputations back.”

Reaction on campus has been mixed. Accounting and finance sophomore Nick

Marko lives in the same apartment building as the players. He said the allegations haven’t affected his view of the football team.

“What these guys choose to do when they’re off the field is not going to make me feel any worse about the football team or our new coach,” Marko said.

He also said that the extra attention the case got because football players were involved was unfair.

“Sadly, there’s a lot of similar cases that don’t get as much attention as they probably should.”

At the same time, an online petition critical of the University’s handling of the incident was circulating and had more than 135 signatures Monday evening. Signers identified themselves as students or alumni and called for a public apology.

Lynn Parrish, spokeswoman for Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the nation, explained why the unnamed woman might have waited until Friday to go to police.

“When someone lives through such a traumatic experience, they can react in many different ways,” Parrish said. “It’s really not that uncommon for someone to hold off before reporting it.”

Parrish also said progress is being made in reducing the stigma that goes along with rape.

“The most important thing is that we make it as easy as possible for victims to come forward and press charges.”

One case of rape at the University was reported in 2006, with four reported the previous year, according to Minneapolis police statistics.