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Professor suspended after sexual assault arrest

October 18, 2009


An MSU instructor is in jail and has been suspended with pay for 30 days after being arraigned Thursday on three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping.

University Spokesman Jason Cody said after reviewing the case, the university made the decision Friday to suspend Takashi Higuchi, an instructor and resident in the College of Veterinary Medicine, pending further action. Cody said he does not know when further action will be taken.

The East Lansing Police Department reported the 35-year-old Higuchi met the victim — a minor whose age is not being released but, according to the charges, is under the age of 16 — through an Internet dating site.

Police believe she is the only victim, East Lansing police Sgt. Jeff Murphy said.

Higuchi was arrested at about 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the East Lansing Police Department. Further details of the arrest are not being released by police, as the incident remains under investigation, Murphy said.

“We weren’t releasing a lot of details on this,” he said. “There are still things we’re looking into.”

Higuchi pleaded not guilty to the charges in East Lansing’s 54-B District Court, before Judge David Jordon. He is being held in the Ingham County Jail without bond, according to a statement from the East Lansing Police Department.

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III could not be reached for comment Sunday. Higuchi does not currently have an attorney.

Nikolaos Dervisis, an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and a colleague of Higuchi, said staff members were surprised to hear of the arrest.

“(Higuchi) is a very polite and a very quiet person,” he said. “He never causes any trouble.”

Higuchi is scheduled for a pretrial conference at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in East Lansing’s 54-B District Court.

Staff reporter Emily Wilkins contributed to this report.

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