The woman whose accusations led to the suspension of Gophers basketball player Reggie Lynch isn’t the first to allege he engaged in sexual misconduct.
In May 2016, Kayla Bollingmo, then a 19-year-old freshman, accused Lynch of raping her after a dorm room encounter that month, leading to his arrest and an investigation by both police and the University of Minnesota. Lynch denied assaulting her, saying they engaged in consensual sex.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s office declined to charge Lynch, citing a lack of evidence. Investigators with the U’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) office determined that Lynch did not violate the school’s code of conduct.
For Bollingmo, Thursday’s news that Lynch had been suspended following another allegation of sexual misconduct was a victory.
“I’m just really happy that this kind of conduct is being exposed and he’s being held accountable,” Bollingmo said Friday.
Bollingmo, 20, declined to talk about the specifics of her accusations against Lynch.
Lynch’s attorney, Lee Hutton, has not responded to a request for comment for this story.
Bollingmo had several drinks with friends the night of May 7, 2016, when she first met Lynch at an off-campus apartment, according to police and university records. She told police that she drank so much that her next memory was of being in Lynch’s room. While he said they had consensual sex, she told police officers they did not.
“I can’t think of it any other way,” Bollingmo told an investigator with the U’s Police Department, according to the police report. “Because I was not sober, and there is no way I would have done this, and there is no way I could have.”
After Bollingmo left his apartment, she told friends that she had been assaulted and called the police, who arrested Lynch.
Lynch denied assaulting Bollingmo when he spoke with an investigator.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, according to the police report. “She told me she wanted to have sex and I said OK and then she started crying out of nowhere. I asked her what was wrong; she said ‘I miss, I don’t know where my friends are.’ So I said OK, like you can go then.”
On July 26, University Police Sgt. James Nystrom sent the case to Hennepin County prosecutors with the recommendation that Lynch be charged.
“There is no indication that affirmative consent was asked for by [Lynch] or given by [Bollingmo] for sexual penetration, both vaginal and oral,” Nystrom wrote. “As [Bollingmo] consistently noted in her interview with officers … she was fearful under the circumstances and simply wanted to leave.”
On Aug. 1, Freeman’s office announced Lynch would not be charged, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed.
In September, the EOAA office concluded there was no violation.
A reasonable person in Lynch’s position, the EOAA found, “would have understood that Kayla provided affirmative consent for the sexual activity. When she outwardly expressed a lack of consent, Reggie stopped,” according to the report obtained by the Star Tribune.
After accusing Lynch of assault, Bollingmo went back to the U but left after a semester.
“I couldn’t handle it,” she said.
She is now taking a year off while studying theology through her church.
She struggled with blaming herself, but has a strong network of friends and family who supported her. In December 2016, she stood with a group of about 200 people gathered near TCF Bank Stadium to protest the U’s handling of sex assault cases.
“I realized I could never be at fault for something that horrific,” she said. “I haven’t given up. I’m as strong as I’ll ever be in my whole life.