WHITEWATER — The Walworth County district attorney will not be prosecuting a collegiate wrestler who allegedly assaulted a student while at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on a recruiting visit last year.

The 21-year-old man, currently a wrestler at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, spent the night of his visit April 17, 2014, attending off-campus parties with a female UW-Whitewater student, according to an official incident report released by the Whitewater Police Department on Feb. 13.

The female student reportedly was asked by an assistant wrestling coach to take three recruits out to parties. After going to a friend’s house with the recruits, she “blacked out” at approximately midnight and woke up the next morning in her bed, to find blood on her shorts and sheets. Additionally, she had anal pain.

Whitewater Police Officer William Becker responded to the case and collected evidence from the student, including bedsheets, clothing and a sexual assault evidence collection kit. Becker also collected clothing and DNA swabs from the inner cheeks of the wrestler, who provided them voluntarily.

The officer first visited the alleged victim at Fort Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson, where she was examined. DNA analysis found no semen on any of the swabs, but did locate other DNA profiles consistent with the man’s account of using his fingers during the sex act.

The man reportedly said the two engaged in consensual sexual activities throughout the night and went back to the female’s apartment afterward. He and the female began to become intimate; however, he told the female nothing would happen and went to sleep in the hallway, according to the report.

Another account by Ryan Fritsch, a senior at UW-Whitewater, said he witnessed a physical altercation after the student refused to go into a back room with the visiting wrestler during a party.

“Fritsch said he then observed (the female) strike (the man) several times,” according to the report. “Fritsch again said ‘she was very trashed.’”

After the female received the DNA findings from Officer Becker, she said she still wanted to go forward with the charges of second-degree sexual assault.

However, the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office declined to issue charges because, it stated, the case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

A letter sent to the victim from Assistant District Attorney Haley Rea said sexual assault cases are very difficult.

“In reaching this decision, the District Attorney’s Office does not mean to suggest that your version of the events was not complete or trustworthy,” Rea wrote in the letter. “In criminal cases, each element of an offense must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Walworth County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to telephone calls from the Royal Purple by presstime.

In light of the alleged sexual assault, multiple violations in coordination with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) were found against the wrestling team, including recruits receiving travel, lodging and food benefits.

Zachary Selan, a former student and the subject who was in charge of watching the recruits the night the alleged sexual assault happened, reportedly violated multiple NCAA rules by talking to recruits in person or via social media and physically bringing them to campus.

After reports of rule violations and alleged sexual assault emerged, former assistant coach Chris Heilman resigned and former head coach Tim Fader’s contract was not renewed.

Although specific changes have not been made to recruiting visits, UW-Whitewater Director of Athletics Amy Edmonds emphasized that the Athletic Department has been making sure it is following the NCAA and WIAC rules more carefully.

New information has been added to uwwsports.com to give more detailed information to current and prospective athletes, coaches, students and faculty.

“Certainly, we weren’t as transparent, if you want to say that,” Edmonds said. “We didn’t have all these wonderful links and documents and such on our website. Now we’ve done that to allow anybody and everybody to take a peek at what our practices are.”

Along with allowing the public to look at the department’s practices, Edmonds encouraged the campus to discuss sexual assault by playing the “It’s On Us” UW-W campaign video at athletic events.

“It’s On Us” is a campaign to shift the way people think about sexual assault.

“My daughters are 8 and 11, and so when they saw the video, they were like, ‘well, what is that mom?,’ so we were able to talk about that, and I think that’s important,” Edmonds said.

“Now, not everybody shares that same philosophy, but in my personal experience, and student services has always been one of the pieces in my wheelhouse, having a conversation is what is important,” she added. “That video can help spark those conversations.”

(Editor’s note: The author writes for The Royal Purple, UW-Whitewater’s campus newspaper.)

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