Gunnar Bentz, one of four U.S. Olympic swimmers implicated in the fabricated story of an armed robbery in Rio, has issued a statement that puts the blame squarely on Ryan Lochte for the whole mess.
People magazine reports that Bentz has asserted he has never lied about the event, and was only interviewed about it by Rio police one time.
"I was never a suspect in the case from the beginning (Brazilian law enforcement officials saw me only as a witness)," he said.
Bentz confirms that the entire incident occurred at a gas station, where the swimmers decided to urinate against the back of the building when the bathroom was not available. He also states that Lochte, for no reason, vandalized the place by pulling down "a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall." This was when they attempted to leave, but were asked to get out of their taxi by the gas station's two security guards.
While Bentz says the guards did not brandish weapons at that moment, he does say they pulled their weapons out when teammates James Feigen and Jack Conger turned around to leave. Bentz says he was the one who urged everyone to do as they were told, which included paying about $70 to the men in exchange for being allowed to leave.
"I am so thankful for the love and support of my family, my friends and my teammates during this time," Bentz ended his statement. "Without question, I am taking away a valuable life lesson from this situation. In everything I do, I am representing my family, my country and my school. I will not take that responsibility lightly."
Lochte has yet to respond, but his laywer, Jeff Ostrow, continues to frame the incident as a robbery at gunpoint, even after Lochte apologized for not being "careful and candid" in his account of what really happened.