A woman has decided to drop a restraining order filed against five Minnesota football players that prevented them from participating in home games at TCF Bank Stadium.
The woman, a 22-year-old female University of Minnesota student who works at the stadium, accused the five Gophers players — Ray Buford, KiAnte Hardin, Tamarion Johnson, Dior Johnson and Carlton Djam — of sexually assaulting her on Sept. 2.
Authorities opted not to press charges against the players in the incident, and the woman dropped the restraining order against the five on Wednesday after a settlement was reached. The players, who had been suspended, are expected to be eligible to play Saturday vs. Purdue.
She said she sought the restraining order because she feared being around the players. It initially barred them from playing in their home stadium.
“I don’t think I should have to go through a traumatic experience every time I see them,” she told the court.
The woman testified she “felt very overpowered and fearful” during a sexual encounter with Djam following the team’s win over Oregon State on Sept. 2. She said the others subsequently joined in.
She then described a series of successive assaults by men in Djam’s apartment, but conceded she didn’t remember all the details clearly, possibly including the number of young men involved. But she also conceded, when asked by Lee Hutton, the attorney for the players, that she’d later told police investigators that the sex with Djam was consensual — a potential explanation for why the case didn’t result in criminal charges.
“Yes, I did say that,” the woman testified. “I do not believe it was true.” She describes being “frozen with fear” as the assaults continued.
Hutton’s cross examination focused on whether the sexual encounters were consensual or involved any use of force. He also made reference to Instagram messages passing between the woman and the players, to her drinking before she went to Djam’s apartment, as well as the woman’s opportunities to leave the apartment.
Per Fox 9 in Minneapolis, the settlement says the players cannot have any contact with the woman until she graduates. Additionally, the university will inform police and stadium security about the court order so the players do not contact the woman, who works as part of the on-field operations at the stadium.
“I’m glad this is over,” the woman said in a statement after the settlement was reached. “This has never been about punishing anyone. I just wanted to feel safe. Because of this resolution we came to, now I can.”
Despite the settlement, the university is still investigating the incident for student conduct violations.
For more Minnesota news, GopherIllustrated.com.
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