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Outside the Lines report details culture of sex assaults in MSU football

January 26, 2018
Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

MSU did not publicize the fact that 16 football players were accused of sexual assault and violence, according to an investigative report by ESPN's Outside the Lines.

Those cases have all occurred since 2007, when Mark Dantonio became the head coach.

MSU has fought — and lost — three lawsuits in the past three years for withholding student athlete names in MSU Police records.

Dantonio was involved in discipline for at least one case, according to the report. 

In June 2017, Dantonio said that "this was new ground for us," referencing the four former football players who were accused for sexual assault in two separate incidents during the spring 2017 semester.

The case Dantonio referenced involves Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance. They are accused of forcing a woman to perform oral sex on them during a party in January 2017.

In the other incident, Auston Robertson was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly raping a woman in her apartment.

The investigations into athletes were handled by former Athletic Director Mark Hollis' department. Coaches would sometimes even handle the cases.

Hollis resigned on Friday, two days after OTL asked MSU spokesperson Jason Cody and the MSU sports information department for comment about the article. OTL also asked for comment from Hollis, Dantonio and men's basketball coach Tom Izzo.

The reports involving the football team, according to ESPN:

- A junior offensive tackle and his girlfriend accused each other of violent behavior on Aug. 31, 2009. They declined to file charges.

- A freshman defensive lineman was accused of punching and kicking his girlfriend on Dec. 18, 2009. The player said he was trying to restrainer her, but never hit the woman. No charges were filed because the woman did not want to pursue.

- A freshman wide receiver and another football player were accused of raping a woman in November 2009. She reported the assault in Jan. 17, 2010. She said after the rape she became suicidal and drank excessively. The players said it was consensual sex. No charges were filed.

- A freshman running back slammed a woman against a wall, after she asked him to say "please," on Aug. 31, 2013. The woman was left with a scraped elbow and buttock. The woman declined to file charges, saying she only wanted the player to apologize, which he did in the presence of a police officer.

- A freshman football player is accused of using his penis to vaginally and orally assault a severely intoxicated woman in her dorm room, following a party on Oct. 29, 2013. The woman told the player she did not consent, but the player said the woman never told him to stop. The woman told MSUPD that she did not want to file criminal charges, but did want to report it to MSU's judicial services. There were no criminal charges filed.

- Four football players were accused of gang raping a woman in 2007. In May 2014, parents of a deceased MSU student filed a report with MSUPD about the rape. They discovered the incident after reading her journals from therapy sessions. Detectives conducted a months-long investigation and sent the findings to the Ingham County Prosector's Office in June 2015. No charges were filed because the woman's journals could not be used as evidence and they could not corroborate her claims.

However, according to the report, it is unclear if MSUPD or administrators ever told Dantonio about the incidents.

The athletic department tends to keep reports accusing athletes of assault "in house," former Michigan State sexual assault counselor Lauren Allswede said.

This report comes a day after an OTL article detailing how MSU has failed to hand over all of its files about Nassar to the Office of Civil Rights.

Stay with The State News as updates continue. The reports also detail investigations into the MSU men's basketball team.

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