MSU Trustee: Auston Robertson allegedly reported rape involving 3 players to Dantonio
MSU Trustee Brian Mosallam tweeted a statement to a group of reporters at 2:54 p.m. Wednesday, claiming Lyons "has damaged the university by his words and actions."
Auston Robertson was the unnamed player that reported three of his ex-teammates to MSU football head coach Mark Dantonio for allegedly raping a woman at a party on Jan. 16, according to MSU Board of Trustees member Mitch Lyons.
Dantonio and Athletic Director Mark Hollis called a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the dismissal of Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance for their alleged roles in a sexual assault. Later that day, though, Lyons confirmed in a radio interview with WBBL 107.3 FM in Grand Rapids that Robertson reported the three players to Dantonio after the incident happened in January.
"When Auston Robertson came into his office for a regular weekly meeting, Coach D asked the regular questions he typically asks him, and then he became a little emotional and didn't even go into details," Lyons said during the interview. "He alluded to the fact that something happened, and Coach D had a sense that it involved some sort of sexual allegation, and he immediately said 'Don't say anything more.'"
The alleged incident eventually led to sexual assault charges against King, Corley and Vance, authorized by Judge Richard Ball Tuesday from East Lansing's 54-B District Court.
Since then, Robertson is facing his own allegations of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for reportedly raping a woman in her apartment.
Lyons' comments coincide with the findings of a report from Jones Day law firm — which the university hired to determine if the supervisors from the football program and athletic department complied with university policy.
According to the report, "Dantonio immediately contacted MSU police, (the Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE), and leaders within the Athletic Department to convey all the information he had regarding the allegations."
Dantonio also avoided investigating the matter or inserting himself into any investigation by not contacting Corley, Vance or King and by keeping the information as private as possible by not informing others on the football staff.
The report states an unnamed football player had a regularly-scheduled weekly meeting with Dantonio. During the meeting, Robertson became emotional and made a statement regarding a woman he helped and said, "I had to get her out of there. She is my friend."
According to the report, the unnamed player did not provide any additional details of what occurred, nor did he inform Dantonio it pertained to a sexual assault. Dantonio, however, suspected the unnamed player was a witness to an incident that could implicate MSU's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, stopped Robertson, and contacted OIE.
The Jones Day probe was later expanded to include the alleged April sexual assault.
Robertson, along with King, Vance and Corley, have preliminary examination hearings scheduled for June 22.
Despite this situation not being Robertson's first run-in with the law, Dantonio said Tuesday he never intended to bring a "bad guy" to the program. Robertson was dismissed from a misdemeanor battery charge at his high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana from an incident stemming back to Jan., 2016. Robertson entered a diversionary program for the incident, which he completed March 11.
"We’ve never intentionally brought a guy in here and said, ‘Hey, that guy’s going to be a bad guy.’," Dantonio said. "Obviously, we took a risk as you said earlier. We vetted the young man."
Hollis announced Tuesday he has created a three-person panel to in order to increase oversight of university rules and policies of within the football program.
"As athletic director I am responsible to make tomorrow better than today," Hollis said. "I’ve assigned Jennifer Smith, Allan Haller and Elliot Daniels to oversight rules and areas within our football program. It does not diminish the coaching staff’s accountability nor my expectations of them for the recruitment and leadership of our student athletes. Rather, it is to ensure that we have programmatic systems in place that are efficient and effective."
Lyons, who played at MSU from 1988-1992, went on to say he agreed with Dantonio's decision to wait until charges were filed against the three players until removing them from the team.
The State News reached out to Lyons, but he was unavailable for comment. MSU spokesman Jason Cody said he could not confirm Lyons' statement or comment on any Title IX or police report.
"Much to what Coach D said, criminal or not, the actions that they've already admitted to doing, from a moral standpoint, are disgusting and have no place in our university," Lyons said. "I completely agree with him on that account."