Police release Gopher players; may still file charges
MINNEAPOLIS -- Three University of Minnesota football were released from police custody on Monday, but investigators said they would continue probing the reported rape of an 18-year-old woman last week.
The players were arrested on Friday and questioned about the attack. By law, Hennepin County prosecutors had a deadline of noon Monday to decide whether to file formal charges against the players or release them.
"We have concluded that additional investigation is necessary to decide whether or not charges should be brought," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman at a news conference.
He said he would not comment on the details of the ongoing investigation, but said the players remained "suspects." Prosecutors have the option to file charges later, Freeman said.
The players have been identified by the university as Alex Daniels, 20, a defensive end from Columbus, Ohio; Keith Massey, 20, a cornerback from Columbus; and E.J. Jones, running back from Edwardsville, Ill.
Freeman said the players were released before noon on Monday. "They're free persons," he said.
On Friday, Coach Tim Brewster suspended the players until the investigation was complete.
The University of Minnesota's Police Department received a report on Friday that the woman was raped sometime between late Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The victim, whose name is not being released, was examined at a local hospital.
The three players will continue to be students and attend classes, said Daniel Wolter, a university spokesman. However, pending the completion of the investigation, they have relocated to off-campus housing and will remain on suspension from the football team, he said in a statement.
"Everyone, from the central administration to the department of intercollegiate athletics, is cooperating with law enforcement throughout the course of this investigation," Wolter said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press