Student pleads guilty in UMD case

by Tim Sturrock

The former field captain of the University of Minnesota-Duluth men’s rugby team pleaded guilty Tuesday to providing alcohol to minors at an April party attended by a freshman teammate who was found dead in a creek three days later.

Wesley Wheeler Omer, 22, and two other teammates, Kevin James McGuigan, 22, and Brian Guy Warden, 22, were charged last May.

Mark Rubin, St. Louis County prosecutor, said Omer’s punishment will be “no more onerous” than that of his former teammates, who pleaded guilty in May for the same crime.

McGuigan and Warden must now conduct more than 200 hours of alcohol awareness seminars, perform 40 hours of community service and pay a $200 fine.

The charges came after Ken Christiansen, 19, a rookie on the rugby team, was found dead in Duluth’s Chester Creek after attending the party. He was found with a blood alcohol level of 0.22 – twice the legal limit to drive for those over 21. Christiansen died of hypothermia.

Christiansen’s death prompted UMD Chancellor Kathryn Martin to enact tougher penalties for students caught drinking underage.


-Tim Sturrock