Former Minnesota Gopher basketball star Reggie Lynch said in a statement Thursday that he will accept his expulsion from the University of Minnesota over allegations of sexual misconduct.
In a small press conference held at his lawyer’s office, with his mother, Marlene, by his side, Lynch asserted that he had been wrongly accused. “I did not commit any of the acts I’m accused of,” Lynch said. “In today’s climate, people automatically assume you’re guilty. … I am angry there’s no real way to defend myself.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that last fall two women filed unrelated complaints with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA), alleging misconduct by Lynch in April of 2016. Lynch was also arrested in another alleged incident in spring of 2016, but Hennepin County declined to file charges.
Concerning the most recent complaints, an investigator interviewed both women and Lynch and found Lynch to be “responsible” for sexual misconduct. That ruling called for Lynch to be suspended until 2020 on one count and expelled on the other.
Lynch chose to appeal those rulings, with separate hearings set for both cases. Lynch’s statement on Thursday means those hearings will be cancelled.
Neither of the women chose to speak in response to Lynch’s statement.
Lynch’s lawyer, Ryan Pacyga, alleged that the University’s process for handling cases of sexual misconduct were skewed in favor of the victims. “There’s a reason why the courts don’t call an accuser a victim in a trial; they wait until the facts play out,” he said. “Who is the victim? Is it the person who is an accuser? Or is it the accused?”
Pacyga acknowledged that Lynch was interviewed twice last fall by the EOAA investigator without a lawyer present. “He had nothing to hide,” Pacyga said. “That’s why Reggie’s hurting. That’s why Reggie feels like a victim. I think Reggie’s standing up for accused people.”
Lynch was recruited by Gophers head coach Richard Pitino and transferred from Illinois State in April of 2015. In May of 2016, he was arrested after a freshman accused him of sexual assault but was not charged with a crime.