According to StarTribune.com
, two senior athletes for Browerville High School during this past school year were charged Thursday with sexually assaulting teammates at different times and locations, including two incidents while with their basketball team in the state tournament this spring in Minneapolis.
Charged in Todd County District Court were recent graduates Seth J. Kellen, 18, of Browerville, and Connor S. Burns, 18, of Clarissa. Both, who also played football, remain free pending court appearances scheduled for Aug. 20.
Five criminal complaints charge Kellen with numerous counts involving multiple victims, some in their early teens, with the alleged assaults at times occurring in the high school.
The charges against Kellen, which his attorney is strongly challenging, range from felonies to misdemeanors and include third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving penetration and indecent exposure in a public setting.
Burns is charged with six counts of criminal sexual conduct, four of them felonies and two gross misdemeanors. The most serious is third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving penetration.
County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen said this case is not viewed as hazing because "the victims included seniors, and there's no reason for hazing seniors. Also, the victims said it didn't feel like a hazing situation."
Rasmussen said authorities think there are more victims than those noted in the charges, but some wouldn't talk because they were too embarrassed or uncomfortable to aid investigators.
The investigation produced no evidence that coaches or school officials ignored or even knew about the incidents.
Both defendants declined to speak with investigators, Rasmussen said, and their parents have been "silent."
Earlier this year, prosecutors filed similar charges against a juvenile, Rasmussen said, but because some juvenile court proceedings are private, he declined to identify that person.
Kellen's attorney, Chris Karpan, branded as "patently ridiculous" the charges against his client for what Karpan termed "inappropriate hazing activities."
Karpan added Kellen was subjected to similar acts four years ago, as have "100 kids from the past 20 years" at the high school.
Therefore, the attorney said, there must be others out there who "must be awfully worried that the world is about to come to a screeching halt too."
Rumors about hazing and sexual misdeeds had been swirling around the school for some time, leading to District Superintendent Robert Schaefer and Sheriff Todd Mikkelson to hold a news conference in May to explain some of what they were investigating and urging anyone with information to come forward.