Ex-football players plead guilty to lesser charges, may avoid jail time
Three former MSU football players accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a party in January 2017 reached a plea agreement, which resulted in lesser charges, Wednesday morning.
Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance each had a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct dismissed. Joshua King had one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct dismissed.
Through the agreement, Corley, King and Vance will have no upfront jail time. All pleaded guilty to a count of seduction.
"Any man who shall seduce and debauch any unmarried woman shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 5 years or by fine of not more than 2,500 dollars," according to Act 328 of 1931 of Michigan law.
King also pleaded guilty to a charge of surveilling an unclothed person. Corley and Vance had the charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct dismissed as part of the deal.
If Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentences them to jail time, they can withdraw their guilty plea.
All three were granted the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. When a person pleads guilty, a court does not enter a judgement of conviction. The records are sealed and if the probation is not violated, the record will remain sealed. If probation is violated, the records can be unsealed.
Assistant Prosecutor Steve Kwasnik said the victim was consulted extensively throughout the plea deal and approved of it.
"We must have a legal framework that allows us to treat the facts of each criminal case proportionately, which the current laws sometimes make difficult," Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon said in a press release. "For cases that are submitted for our review, we look at multiple factors to try to craft an outcome that reflects the facts of the individual event."
The seduction plea has been used infrequently throughout Michigan, but constantly, Siemon said.
"The law itself is archaic and while the statute itself is valid, it certainly was originally enacted in a bygone era," Siemon said.
The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act is imperfect, but it is a good tool when used in an appropriate manner, Siemon said.
"Under Michigan law, prosecutors have a great deal of discretion in the sanction that each offender receives," Siemon said. "Prosecutors decide whether to issue charges, and if so, often have multiple options. Once a case is charged, pleas can be offered at the prosecutor’s discretion. It’s my belief that prosecutors can work to reform the system from within."
Corley, King and Vance will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. on June 6.
Editor's note: This article was updated at 12:07 to reflect what Michigan law says about seduction. It was updated again at 5:50 p.m. with the addition of a statement from Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon.