MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A sexually-charged Twitter rumor that led to the suspension of a Rogers High School athlete is now part of a criminal investigation.
An online petition aiming to get the student back in school states that senior Reid Sagehorn has been suspended until late April over the matter. Sagehorn was a captain on both the school football and basketball teams.
Initial reports said he was suspended after he tweeted, "Actually yes" to an anonymous posting saying he had kissed a 28-year-old Rogers teacher.
But police say the anonymous postings detailed sex acts between the two. As a result, the teacher was the subject of a criminal investigation.
Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen said they cleared the teacher of any wrongdoing and have determined there was no relationship between her and Sagehorn.
The tweet and the anonymous postings took place on an explicit website called Rogers Confessions. On it, were posts detailing sexual exploits of Rogers High School students.
"Students were talking about their sexual activity at home and on the weekends and at parties," Beahen said.
The site has been take down and police say several students came forward on Tuesday, including one that confessed to one of the postings linking Sagehorn and the teacher.
"The first one was about a kiss but as it went on, there were references to a much stronger physical relationship," Beahen said.
Police say Sagehorn was not behind the website but it was on there that he posted the two-word tweet, "Actually, yes" that got him suspended.
Sagehorn told school officials his tweet was meant as a joke.
The suspension of Sagehorn led to protests, including a petition with more than 3,000 signatures and an outpouring on Twitter featuring the hashtag, "#freereid."
Elk River Area School Superintendent Dr. Mark Bezak said he supports Sagehorn's suspension but is also looking at ways the punishment might be revisited.
"The ultimate goal is to bring this student back, you know, at some point in time to finish out his senior year," he said.
But he says the fact that an innocent teacher was the subject of a criminal investigation cannot be ignored.
"It's hard to say those two words weren't that big a deal," he said. "Well yes, they were."
Both the police chief and the superintendent say the teacher has been traumatized by being falsely linked to an allegation of sexual misconduct.
At a district school board meeting in Elk River Tuesday night, supporters of Sagehorn voiced their concern over the severity his suspension.
"I definitely don't think it should have been blown up this much," said Zach Evans, a friend of Sagehorn's.
One parent said she thinks Sagehorn has paid his dues already and should be allowed to go back to school.
The superintendent says he's met with all those involved and he is hoping there can be an agreement as to how the incident can be resolved.
School officials hope to resolve the matter by the end of the week. If not, there will be another school board meeting next Monday, at which Sagehorn's supporters will be expected to speak on his behalf.
The police chief says he hopes charges can be filed against whoever posted some of the information on Rogers Confessions. The case has been referred to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
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