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Probe into MSU's sexual assault response linked to 2010 incident

March 9, 2014

University spokesman Jason Cody told The State News that a Title IX complaint regarding an alleged assault in Wonders Hall in August 2010 resulted in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights into how the university responds to sexual assault reports.

Cody said the complaint was filed some time after MSU police concluded their investigation of the 2010 incident.

The nature of the complaint matches the description of an incident that allegedly involved two basketball players. University officials did not confirm whether this is the particular incident in question.

At the time of the incident, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III did not move forward with charges against the players. He previously said statements from both sides did not align and, after review from several other prosecutors, determined no crime was committed.

The players in question were never named in previous reports.

“MSU police, as they do with all cases, investigated thoroughly and as a result moved forward to the prosecutor with criminal proceedings,” Cody told The State News.

According to the initial police report, the two suspects allegedly cornered the victim in a dorm room, making her feel as though she could not escape. The two then turned off the lights and allegedly took turns sexually assaulting her.

The victim initially told police that the two held her arms down and pinned her to the ground. When she managed to free one of her arms, she said she struck one of the suspects across the face. She told police he continued to assault her, saying, “Don’t. Just relax.”

The report states one of the suspects told police he knew the victim was reluctant and stopped what he was doing. One of the suspects reportedly apologized to the victim because “it seemed she felt they ‘disrespected’ her.”

Both suspects told police they apologized to the victim before they left the room.

Following the alleged assault, MSU police responded by searching the room where the victim told police the assault took place. In the report of the search, the detective noted that one of the suspects was “smirking” when the search warrant was read to him.

According to a previous State News report, the number of reported on-campus sexual assaults has spiked since 2010.

The number of reported incidents increased between 2011 and 2012 from 15 to 20 total, a university report indicated.

Last month, Office of Civil Rights officials hosted forums on MSU’s campus to give students the opportunity to speak freely about on-campus sexual assault. Representatives met with several student groups, including male and female athletes, fraternities and sororities and members of MSU’s Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention program.


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