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Lawsuit alleges 3 2015 men's basketball players involved in rape

April 9, 2018
Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News
Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News —

Editor's Note: This article contains graphic content. This article was last updated at 6:55 p.m. to include details from the lawsuit.

Three former men's basketball players allegedly raped a woman after the team's Final Four run in 2015, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan Southern Division, alleges three unnamed players — named John Doe 1, John Doe 2 and John Doe 3 in the lawsuit — took an 18-year-old female journalism freshman home from Harper's between the evening of April 11, 2015, and the morning of April 12 and raped her.

The alleged victim and her roommate — Jane Roe 1 — went to Harper's on the evening of April 11. Shortly after midnight on April 12, a drove of the men's basketball team arrived at Harper's, including JD1, JD2 and JD3. The team returned back to East Lansing earlier in the week after losing to Duke in the 2015 Final Four.

At Harper's, JD1 offered the alleged victim a drink, which she accepted, and then offered the alleged victim to meet the "other guys" on the team, which she also accepted.

One of the players on the team then offered the alleged victim to come to the player's party, and allegedly lied and said JR1 was already on the way to the party. According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim was having a hard time holding her drink even though she did not have that much to drink at that point in time.

The alleged victim accepted a ride from JD1 and JD2 back to JD2's off-campus apartment, and when they arrived, realized there was no party as few people were present. 

The alleged victim at this point was extremely hungry and thirsty, and realized JR1 was not in the apartment as she was told by members of the team. She also at this time was "discombobulated" and "tried to send a phone text, but she could not control her thumbs to formulate a text."

JD1 then took the alleged victim into a bedroom and told her "you are mine for the night." This made the alleged victim uncomfortable as she had no romantic or physical interest in any of the people present at the apartment.

The alleged victim was able to make her way back to the living room, where she tried to load a song onto a laptop that was playing music, but could not because she could not use her hands properly. She then realized something was wrong and she might have been drugged.

JD2 then asked the alleged victim if she would like to see some of his basketball memorabilia. The alleged victim agreed and asked for water, as she was incredibly thirsty.

The alleged victim was given water as JD2 took her into his bedroom to see his basketball memorabilia. While the alleged victim was drinking the water, the lights were turned off and she was thrown face down on the bed and held so she could not move, while JD2 raped her.

The alleged victim was crying, could not move or speak and did not consent to the sexual activity.

As soon as JD2 was done, JD1 and JD3 came in and held the alleged victim down, taking turns raping her, according to the lawsuit.

The alleged victim does not remember anything else until a few hours later when she woke up on the couch of JD2's apartment. She then called for a taxi and went back to her dorm room at Brody Hall.

When the alleged victim saw JR1, she found out JR1 did not know about the party and that JR1 was searching for her but could not find her.

At this point in time, the alleged victim was distraught, traumatized and crying. She then called another friend who lived in Brody, named Jane Roe 2 in the lawsuit.

On April 20, 2015, JR2 took the alleged victim to MSU's Counseling Center, or MSUCC, where the alleged victim reported the rape to a counselor and completed an initial intake and assessment. 

However, after the alleged victim disclosed the three alleged rapists were from the men's basketball team, the counselor announced she needed another person in the room. Allegedly, the counselor's demeanor completely changed.

Another MSUCC staff member was brought into the room and the alleged victim was not made aware why the staff member was brought in.

The MSUCC staff told the alleged victim her only options were to file a police report or deal with the aftermath on her own.

The staff then made it clear to the alleged victim if she chose to notify the police, she would be facing a battle that would "create anxiety and unwanted media attention and publicity as had happened in the past with other female students who were sexually assaulted by well-known athletes," according to the lawsuit.

This caused the alleged victim to be so frightened, she decided not to report the rapes. The MSUCC staff allegedly did not advise the alleged victim to seek STD or pregnancy testing, physical exam or medical treatment. The staff also did not notify the alleged victim her option to report the rapes to the Office of Institutional Equity, OIE, nor did they notify her of her Title IX rights, protections and accommodations.

The MSUCC staff, however, referred the alleged victim to the MSU Sexual Assault Program, SAP. Because of the discouragement by the staff, the alleged victim did not seek SAP assistance until 10 months later.

Although the former men's basketball players who allegedly committed the rape did not live in Brody, the alleged victim would often see one or all of them at the Brody Dining Hall, which would cause panic and flashbacks to that night, along with fear every day she would see the three players.

The alleged victim was also not made aware of her right to have a no-contact order put in place, which would have kept the three players out of her residence hall.

In October 2015, the alleged victim was admitted to the Sparrow Hospital outpatient psychiatric day-program for intensive psychiatric treatment after becoming traumatized, depressed and withdrawn. She eventually was forced to withdraw for the rest of the fall 2015 semester because of her mental condition. She returned to classes for the spring 2016 semester in January 2016. She also changed her major.

The alleged victim received a refund of her tuition money after she explained the situation to university officials. According to the lawsuit, this traumatized the alleged victim again.

SAP also failed to notify Plaintiff about the OIE or the alleged victim's Title IX rights, protections and accommodations, even though it's part of their protocol.

The alleged victim began treatment sessions at SAP in February 2016, but did not feel comfortable about the limited session or therapist. She then began treatment with a private psychiatric clinic.

Since the alleged rapes, the alleged victim has been prescribed multiple medications to help with her depression, anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia.

The lawsuit was filed by Jane Doe and lists defendants MSU and "Unidentified Roes," who are described as employees or counselors of the MSU Counseling Center and "acting as agents of the Defendant."

MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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