After Hung Juries, Charges Dropped Against Banned Former MN Swim Coach O’Neill

After hung juries in two trials, Minnesota authorities have dropped charges against former swim coach Alfred O’Neill. O’Neill remains banned by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

O’Neill (noted in some reports as Alfred John O’Neill) was accused of inappropriate 1980s sexual conduct with a former swimmer. The woman said she started swimming for O’Neill as a 14-year-old, and that he began a sexual relationship with her while she was still 17. O’Neill admitted to having sexual contact with the swimmer, but said he only had sex with her after she had turned 18. Another victim came forward later on with allegations that O’Neill had engaged in a sexualized relationship with her when she was a minor in the late 1990s.

That second set of charges were dismissed within a few months, though, per reports in early 2019.

Now, Minnesota’s local CBS affiliate reports that the Dakota County Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue the criminal sexual conduct charges from the 1980s. WCCO reports that two trials have ended in hung juries, leading prosecutors to drop the charges. The first was in April of 2019 and the most recent this month in November of 2019.

The 63-year-old O’Neill remains banned by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The Center has its own investigative process, and can ban coaches even if official legal charges are dropped. O’Neill’s entry into the SafeSport database remains under the “ineligible” tag, meaning his appeal window with that governing body could still remain open.

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Flip Turns

Unless there is something personal against this coach, he should be reinstated and be allowed to coach. During more than 30 years he coached athletes with excellent results and had an ethical and professional relationship with swimmers, coaches and parents. He is loved by everyone who knows him well. I have no problem having Mr O’Neill coach my daughters and I know several other parents feel the same. Not sure if SafeSport will use other non-sense arguments to keep him banned, but he should not remain banned.


You should have your kids taken away from you. He admitted to having sex with his swimmer. There is no second chance with that type of offense.

Flip Turns

I don’t know who you are, but you have no right to judge based on your moral grounds.


There is nothing to judge. Its a black and white issue and once you cross that line there is no coming back. Why don’t you take the safesport class and come back and tell us what you learned.

Attorney at Ease

To “TAA”: what a morbid comment. The prosecution dropped the cases. There is no criminal offense.

Coach Coach

The argument that he made a very unethical and unprofessional decision to sleep with one of his athletes is nonsense?

Flip Turns

He wasn’t her coach at the time of the events!


I read that he was her coach from the age of 14 to 17.

Flip Turns

And then, only after he stopped coaching her, the relationship grew. According to court transcripts, all this happening with her mother’s consent. BTW, every alleged act happened while her mother was in the same dwelling.


So he pursued her beyond his coaching duties even infiltrating her home that is suppose to be everyone’s safe haven.


It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. If SafeSport decides to keep him banned, it will set a very dangerous precedent for just anyone to throw a wrench and accuse a coach of wrongdoing, getting a coach charged and rip them off their coaching rights. I say let him coach again.


The first jury split 9 to 3 for conviction the second jury split 11-1 for acquittal. “ONeill denied having sexual contact with her before she turned 18″. He had 5 criminal charges against him. The other case against him was not brought to trial due to ” evidentiary issues”. This is what the StarTribune a Minnesota newspaper reported about the case. Considering these facts about the case he can not be reinstated to coaching.

Flip Turns

I don’t think you are right

Attorney at Ease

Anonymous: I think you don’t want him to come back because you are very afraid that his swimmers will beat your swimmers again.


What a kindergarden argument lol

Swim Family

The second case was dropped because the person was flat out not telling the truth and making stuff up that was happening even today. The Burnsville police discovered this and they had no choice but to drop the case. It was all a lie.


Legally . . . as a Nation of Laws . . . he is presumed not-guilty. The legal question is can SafSport ban him without being liable for a suit by O’Neill. I see that a case could be made for a large punitive award.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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