Duluth AD gets caught

DULUTH (AP) — The athletics director at the University of Minnesota–Duluth offered to arrange a payment to a student if she would decline to testify against a hockey player who assaulted her, a newspaper reported.
In a copyright story Wednesday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune cited a police investigation from 1992 and 1993 that did not result in charges against Bruce McLeod, who is also the commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The player, Sergei Krivokrasov, pleaded guilty to an assault charge in 1993 and now plays for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Krivokrasov’s guilty plea provided the backdrop for the investigation of McLeod.
As part of the research into suspected witness tampering and bribery by McLeod, Duluth police taped conversations between McLeod and the woman assaulted, Erin Masser.
Transcripts show that during a private meeting in his office, McLeod discussed with Masser, then a sophomore, the disadvantages of pursuing an assault case. He offered to act as a “middleman” in delivering money from Krivokrasov, who had signed a professional hockey contract worth $900,000, the newspaper said.
McLeod suggested to Masser, who had a hidden microphone, that he could help her get money from Krivokrasov, especially if the transaction were done privately.
The St. Louis County attorney’s office never filed charges against McLeod, in part because no money changed hands, said the attorney who examined the case. However, Police Lt. John Hall, who directed the investigation, told the paper that there was “a good, presentable case.”
In an interview with the Star Tribune, McLeod acknowledged “naivete” and poor judgment, but said he never intended to commit a crime.
“It certainly was never to obstruct justice or anything,” he said. “In hindsight, I can certainly see why somebody could think that. But that was certainly never the intent.”
McLeod’s involvement with Krivokrasov puzzled investigators, not only because it potentially violated the law, but also because Krivokrasov was never a UMD student.
And while the school took no disciplinary action against McLeod, a senior college official ordered a workshop for athletic department personnel about appropriate ways to counsel students.
“I’ve learned since then that I’m not a counselor or a therapist, or anything like that at all,” McLeod said.
McLeod said Krivokrasov lived at the school by his invitation for the summer while waiting for the NHL draft as part of an arrangement between McLeod and agents Serge Levin and Ron Salcer. In return, McLeod explained, the agents agreed to notify the school of eligible college recruits in Europe.
Krivokrasov signed a professional contract within a few months of arriving.
Masser, 24, no longer attends UMD and declined to be interviewed for the Star Tribune’s story. In a telephone interview from Chicago, Krivokrasov denied knowledge of any plan to pay Masser.