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Three African-American players arrested for raping Finnish girl

Three American football players in Finland’s American Football League suspected of rape

Lawrence Atkinson

Brandon Horn

Joe Nairn

Three American players from the Lappeenranta-based Finnish American Football League team Rajaritarit are suspected of rape.

According to the club, the players have been in police custody since Monday of last week.

“The matter came to me as a total surprise. We have made an effort to provide support to our players through the entire process”, explains Rajaritarit chairman Juho Ritala.

According to Ritala, the suspected deed would have happened in the residence of the players in question on Sunday night nearly two weeks ago. The men were taken into custody on Thursday of last week, Ritala says.

The police have not issued any statements with regard to the suspected crime. Eventually the Rajaritarit team decided to make the announcement themselves.

“There seem to be a lot of speculations circulating around in a town of this size. Many people seem to believe they know quite a bit about what has happened. So we decided to come forward with what we know.”

Ritala points out that so far it is merely a question of suspicion of criminal action, albeit a serious charge.

“Let the police do their investigation. In due course they will issue a statement”, Ritala told the Finnish News Agency STT on Thursday.

At the end of last season Rajaritarit – the name translates loosely as “Border Knights” in keeping with Lappeenranta’s position close to the

Russian border – won promotion back to the Finnish top league.
The team has four American players, one of whom, Thomas Kudyba, is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

The team’s other American players arrived in Lappeenranta during the spring and the summer, the last one at the very end of July.

The team will play its last game of the regular season on Saturday. Rajaritarit have already made it to the play-offs.

“I doubt the boys will make it to the Saturday game. As far as I know their next hearing will not take place until Monday. Kudyba is our only foreign reinforcement on Saturday.”

Ritala hopes the team will be given some peace and quiet to prepare for the coming games.

The American Football Association of Finland (SAJL) information officer Tomi Tiilikainen regards the incident as very unfortunate.

“I have never heard of anything like this before during the twenty or so years that I have been involved in the sport. In time we will find out what has happened. In the meantime neither the association nor the team can do anything”, Tiilikainen commented on Thursday.

Finland’s Vaahteraliiga (“Maple League”) consists of eight teams, with the top four at the end of the regular season advancing to the play-offs.

Source: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/1135248490054

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