Minnesota center Reggie Lynch was officially suspended from participating in any university-related events until Aug. 1, 2020 after an investigation by the school’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office found he was “responsible” for an April 28, 2016 “sexual misconduct incident,” according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The attack took place in his dorm room, according to the victim. Lynch, a star defensive center for the Golden Gophers, will now be suspended until 2020 unless he successfully appeals the EOAA’s ruling.
Although the April incident has largely remained under wraps, Lynch’s entire history of sexual misconduct has not. In May 2016, Lynch was arrested for a sexual assault that also took place in his dorm room; the police ultimately declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence, and the university, which also looked into it, cleared him as well. Lynch has been on Minnesota’s campus just two years now—he transferred from Illinois State following his sophomore year—but women from both the university and the local community have been outspoken on what they’re claiming has been an ignored threat, by both Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota, in their community.
Minnesota graduate and sexual assault victim advocate Abby Honold tweeted Friday morning that she had already spoken with “multiple victims.” Another woman chimed in, saying that when she worked as a bartender Lynch’s reputation as a sexually aggressive presence in her workplace preceded him. Honold added that she took the complaints of sexual assault to Minnesota administrators last year, writing that she “literally sat them down last year & brought it to their attention even further. They know there are multiple victims. They knew about this active report. They still did nothing.”
This marks the third major sexual misconduct scandal in two years for Minnesota’s athletic department—the first mark came with the 2016 suspension of a trio of Golden Gopher men’s basketball players after they tweeted out a video of a threesome; the second was the ugly debacle that was the football team’s gang-rape investigations. (While it wasn’t related to sexual misconduct, the issue of the higher-ups in the athletic department not implementing stricter punitive guidelines for their coaches also came up in a 2016 story, in which the wrestling head coach asked his wrestlers to write him an essay after catching them selling Xanax.)
Head coach Richard Pitino is scheduled to meet with the press Friday morning, presumably to explain why Lynch was allowed to remain on the team in light of both the official complaints.