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Federal investigation may be linked to 2010 rape allegations involving two basketball players

February 28, 2014

The federal investigation into MSU’s handling of sexual assault complaints stems from assault in August 2010 in Wonders Hall, a university official confirmed Friday.

The incident closely matches the description of an incident that allegedly involved two basketball players, although the university stopped short of confirming that detail.

“MSU police, as they do with all cases, investigated thoroughly and as a result moved forward to the prosecutor with criminal proceedings,” university spokesman Jason Cody told The State News. “Some time later, a complaint was made to the OCR,” the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education.

Cody said a Title IX complaint was filed against the university after the MSU police investigation had concluded. As a result, the OCR is currently investigating the effectiveness of the university’s response to sexual assault.

At the time Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III chose not to press charges against the players. Their names were never revealed by police.

Records released in 2010 indicate differences between the statements of an alleged suspect and victim. In a statement released that year with transcripts of interviews of alleged suspects and witnesses, Dunnings said the statements did not corroborate, and prosecutors determined no crime had been committed after reviewing the evidence.

Earlier this week, U.S. Department of Education officials revealed that MSU is being investigated for two Title IX complaints, but would not confirm details.

According to State News archives, Dunnings said in 2010 he “believes” members of the MSU men’s basketball team were connected to the incident, which reportedly occurred between Aug. 29 and Aug. 30 of that year.

“Based on our review of all the materials ... our office reached the conclusion that no crime had been committed,” Dunnings said in a statement issued at the time. “We therefore made the decision to decline to bring charges against the two men.”

Dunnings also said in the statement the office has “handled the case regardless of status and shown neither favor nor prejudice to any person.” Despite numerous media reports indicating one of the men corroborated a story, Dunnings said in the statement that the alleged suspect’s account of the alleged sexual assault does not match that of the complainant’s. Several factors in the police interviews differ. In the complainant’s interview, for instance, she states she asked the men to “stop,” while the alleged suspect states in his interview she only said, “I’m done,” and never directly used the word “stop.”

Both the complainant and the alleged suspect mentioned the physical size of the alleged suspects during the interviews.

The complainant said she felt she was not allowed to leave because of the physical stature of the men and their position between her and the doorway. The alleged suspect said he saw how the woman could feel like she would not be allowed to leave, although he also said she could have left whenever she wanted.

The alleged suspect and complainant both stated in their interviews with police that the alleged suspects asked the complainant if she was OK before she left the room, and both suspects apologized to the complainant. After leaving the room, the complainant had a friend take her to Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital, where she was examined by a sexual assault nurse examiner who prescribed antibiotics but did not administer a physical emergency medical treatment, according to the police report.

Keep checking The State News for more on this story.

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