MSU says issues claimed in lawsuit ‘are simply untrue’
MSU released a statement on a Title IX lawsuit filed Monday against MSU and employees of the MSU Counseling Center, where it is alleged a Jane Doe was raped by three unnamed members of MSU's men's basketball team in 2015 and discouraged from reporting her case.
According to MSU's statement, released Wednesday, "the media has taken these allegations about MSU’s response to her assault as established fact. Unfortunately, they are untrue."
In the statement, MSU lists the following:
- "We have confirmed that, in April 2015, Jane Doe did visit MSU Counseling Center and that our records show that appropriate care and relevant information for a rape victim was provided to the student. We have not found any evidence or indication that she was discouraged in any way to make a Title IX complaint or a complaint to the police department. On the contrary, the student said she was then too distraught to discuss her circumstances. The counselor also suggested she visit the Sexual Assault Program unit on campus.
- "In February 2016, Jane Does visited the Sexual Assault Program unit to receive additional services. She was provided appropriate services, including group counseling sessions, participating in a consultation with a sexual assault advocate, and scheduling an initial appointment with a sexual assault program therapist (an appointment which she did not appear for).
- "In October 2015, Jane Doe’s father contacted her academic advisor to discuss concerns over academic performance. Through that conversation, the advisor learned about the alleged sexual assault. Academic advisors are mandatory reporters under MSU’s policies and the academic advisor promptly took the appropriate step of notifying the MSU Police Department about the potential assault.
- "The MSUPD Special Victims Unit took the report seriously and tried to reach Jane Doe to start the investigation and gather more information, but Jane Doe did not respond to their outreach. An informational email was sent to her that outlined resources available to her, including Title IX information, options to contact the Office of Institutional Equity and relevant counseling services.
- "Jane Doe never revealed the names of her alleged assailants nor, until she filed her lawsuit, did she publicly assert that an assault had occurred. To date, she has yet to exercise her right to make a Title IX complaint or contact the MSUPD or respond to the effort of the Special Victims Unit to learn information about the assault her father brought to the academic advisor’s attention.
- "Any information shared during meetings with MSU counseling and psychiatric services is private and confidential. When attempting to investigate the issue, MSUPD did not have names or any information about possible assailants as Jane Doe never responded to their inquiry. At no point was MSU Athletics Department or the Basketball Program or Head Basketball Coach aware of or notified of the existence of a Jane Doe’s sexual assault allegation."
The statement serves to refute what is alleged in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim was raped in 2015 by three men's basketball players. She went to MSU's Counseling Center to report the rape to a counselor and complete an initial assessment.
According to the lawsuit, the Counseling Center staff told the student her options were to file a police report or deal with the aftermath without filing a report, and alleges the staff told her filing a report would mean facing a battle that would create anxiety, unwanted media attention and publicity.
The lawsuit alleges the staff did not advise her to seek STD or pregnancy testing, physical exam or medical treatment. It alleges the staff did not notify the student of her option to file a report with MSU's Title IX office or her Title IX rights, protections and accommodations. Instead, the staff referred her to the MSU Sexual Assault Program, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges the student was not made aware of her right to have a no-contact order put in place and was not made aware of her Title IX rights, protections of accommodations by MSU's Sexual Assault Progam, even though it's protocol to do so.
It also alleges the student was not made aware of her right to a no-contact order and alleges MSU's Sexual Assault Program did not notify her of her Title IX rights, protections and accommodations, even though it is part of protocol.
“We are deeply saddened when any student comes to us as the result of a sexual assault," Interim President John Engler said in the statement. "For the unfortunate cases where it does happen, MSU has the resources tools and expertise to respond. These resources are available to every member of the community, 24-7, no exceptions."