Björklöven hockey club suspended the player, who says he doesn’t remember what happened on Saturday night, after he was accused of assault and sexual molestation at the Marité night club in Östersund.
After questioning the accusers, investigator Mikael Lundberg said there was no proof the player had assaulted a woman at the club. He then left legal experts flabbergasted when he explained to newspaper Expressen why he did not think the player had meant to grope a second woman.
“With regard to the sexual molestation, they [the two women] were standing at a bar table and then he comes along drunk and drapes his arms around both of them from behind, and then he happens to touch one of their breasts. And it should be noted that they had gigantic breasts. It wasn’t hard to brush up against them. If you’re drunk and drape yourself over someone, well, you can understand how it might have happened.”
Former prosecutor Sven-Erik Ahem said he was “absolutely astonished” by the investigator’s reasoning.
“I’m amazed that this can still happen in 2016. It’s completely illegitimate,” he told The Local.
“An investigator has to be objective and weigh the plaintiffs’ testimony against the defendant’s; there shouldn’t be any room for speculation. This is absurd and incredibly offensive.”
Stephen Jerand, police chief for the Jämtland region, described the investigator’s explanation as “unfortunate”.
“I hope to God this didn’t affect the decision,” he told Expressen.
“The decision [to drop the case] relates to the perpetrator’s subjective intent. The fact that he was very drunk and couldn’t control his own body; that can happen. But breast size shouldn’t influence a decision regarding intent.”
Sven-Erik Alhem, the former prosecutor, said Sweden had generally grown better over the years at eradicating sexism from the legal system, and statements like the investigator’s about the victims’ breasts were now rare.
“In the nineties this kind of thing still happened quite a lot, even officially, where for example the shortness of a skirt was taken into account. It was more male-dominated then than it is now,” he told The Local.
He added that the women would be well-advised to appeal, “so they can find out who dropped the case and on exactly what grounds”.
The player’s club said he remained suspended despite the case against him being dropped.
“To be so drunk that you don’t know what you’re doing is to go way over the line of what’s acceptable,” said Björklöven’s managing director Joakim Gustafsson in a statement.
“If we’re going to be a club for everybody we need to keep working to counteract macho culture and become more welcoming.”