Charges Dismissed

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that after two criminal trials resulting in hung juries, his office will be dismissing the criminal charges filed on September 13, 2018 against Alfred John “Rocky” O’Neill, age 63, of Savage. According to a press release, in May of 2018, the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a nonprofit organization charged with investigating and preventing sex abuse within youth and amateur sports, received a report that during 1988-1989 a female swimmer had been sexually abused on multiple occasions by O’Neill, her former swimming coach. This information was forwarded to the Burnsville Police Department who began a criminal investigation. The charges alleged that O’Neill used his position of authority over the then 17-year-old swimmer in order to repeatedly engage her in sexual contact. O’Neill had been her swimming coach from the time she was 14-years-old. After O’Neill pled not guilty, the case was tried before two juries in Dakota County in April of 2019 and November of 2019. On both occasions, the juries failed to reach a verdict. Backstrom stated, “We have concluded at this time to dismiss these criminal charges and will not pursue a third trial of Mr. O’Neill on the evidence currently available to us in this case. It is rare that a jury is unable to reach a verdict in a criminal case, but it does occasionally occur. I want to commend the woman for her courage in talking about these extremely difficult circumstances after so many years and assisting us in two separate criminal trials, which is never easy in cases of this nature.”

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