Costumed suspect gropes U student

The man followed the victim home in a van before approaching her.

by James Nord

On her way home, a University of Minnesota graduate student took a detour at about 4:15 a.m. Saturday morning because Interstate 94 East was closed. She noticed a blue Chevrolet van tailing her as she turned onto Como Avenue. âÄúI thought maybe I was just being paranoid,âÄù she said. The student thought the car had disappeared when she pulled up to her apartment building and began walking toward the door. It surprised her when a man greeted her from behind. At first she thought it was a neighbor who lived near her Falcon Heights apartment, she said. âÄúI didnâÄôt really understand that this was somebody that actually followed me until I saw what he was wearing,âÄù the student said. âÄúThen I knew something was horribly wrong.âÄù She described the manâÄôs outfit to University police as a short, pink skirt and a black top with three-quarter-length sleeves. âÄúIt really looked like a ballerina top,âÄù she said. After he greeted the woman, the man fondled her. âÄúHe came up from behind, grabbed me, had his body against mine, grabbed my butt,âÄù and I tried to wiggle away,âÄù she said. âÄúI just started yelling, âÄòWhat are you doing? Get off of me!âÄô and he said, âÄòWhy?âÄô like, âÄòWhy donâÄôt you want this?âÄô âÄù Eventually the man ran back toward his van, the student said. She stepped over to look at his license plate number, which she eventually provided to police. The man ran back toward the woman when he noticed she was looking at his vehicle. She called for help again until he got in and drove away, she said. She ran around the side of the building and watched the car flee, but was unable to call police until she got inside because her phone was dead. âÄúIf I didnâÄôt have the license plate number, thereâÄôs no way they couldâÄôve tracked him down,âÄù she said. But the student is still afraid, she said, because although the man admitted to grabbing her, he will likely only receive a misdemeanor. The man could be charged by the Falcon Heights City Attorney on Wednesday. âÄúThereâÄôs sort of an exception in the law when you touch someoneâÄôs buttocks over their clothing âĦ as far as meeting the criteria of a criminal sexual conduct [charge],âÄù University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. University police questioned the man, who has a previous arrest record, in his south Minneapolis home Monday, Miner said. The woman was able to correctly identify the man in a photo lineup. Now staying with friends and family, she plans to begin moving soon. âÄúI just donâÄôt understand how somebody can follow you and stalk you and attack you and get away with it,âÄù she said.
Wrestling camp scuffle A juvenile wrestler attending a camp hosted by University of Minnesota coach J Robinson reported a counselor at the camp assaulted him Saturday. The victim isnâÄôt pressing charges in exchange for the counselorâÄôs removal, according to a police report. The 16-year-old wrestler said the counselor punched him twice while showing him moves on the mat during morning practice on Saturday, according to police documents. The wrestler, who declined comment for this article, told the counselor, âÄúYou ever hit me again and IâÄôll chop you into pieces, light them on fire and mail the ashes to your mom,âÄù after the first reported punch. The victim told police that everyone present, including the suspect, laughed at the statement. Shortly after, the counselor made a related comment that provoked the juvenile to put his âÄúclosed fistâÄù to the counselorâÄôs cheek, according to the documents. The victim reported that the counselor reacted by punching him âÄúhardâÄù on the left cheek. University police noted that there was âÄúno visible injury.âÄù Initially, the wrestler said he was going to âÄúlet it go,âÄù but decided to alert police when he heard the counselor bragging to others, who âÄúresponded by saying, âÄòAwesome, good job,âÄô âÄù according to the documents. A witness seconded the victimâÄôs account when the juvenile reported the crime to University police shortly after the alleged assaults. Robinson, summoned by police, offered to remove the counselor from the camp if the victim didnâÄôt press charges. Robinson declined to comment for the article. Police also interviewed the counselor, who told them, âÄú[The juvenile] threatened to âÄòkill me or murder me, cut me up and burn me to ashes.âÄô âÄù Neither the juvenile nor the counselor was named in police documents because charges werenâÄôt filed.
Football player hurt in mo-ped crash University of Minnesota offensive lineman Matt Eggen shattered the rear window of a car with his head while driving his mo-ped Thursday morning, according to a police report. Gabriel Vincent Lopez, 47, slowed down to a near stop while driving west on 4th Street Southeast in Dinkytown. Eggen, riding a mo-ped, was unable to stop in time and rear-ended the vehicle. His head crashed through the carâÄôs rear window, shattering it. He suffered a âÄúfacial injuryâÄù and also broke a tooth, which was initially believed to be lodged in his mouth, according to the report. The mo-ped suffered only moderate damage. âÄúIt wasnâÄôt something I really want to do again,âÄù Eggen said. He was wearing safety glasses but not a helmet. âÄúItâÄôs pretty rare that thereâÄôs that serious of an accident involving a mo-ped or a motorcycle on or near campus,âÄù Miner said. Eggen was transported by ambulance to University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview and released later that day. Miner advised mo-ped riders to âÄúbe cognizant that other drivers donâÄôt always see them because of the size of their vehicles.âÄù