Medicine

Lawsuit filed against MSU over alleged sexual assault

Lawsuit filed against MSU over alleged sexual assault

A federal lawsuit filed Monday alleges three Michigan State basketball players raped a female student in 2015 and the university failed to offer her the proper resources for help. The school is being charged with creating "an unwritten, official policy that created a culture in which male MSU athletes felt entitled and emboldened to commit sexual assaults without outcome".

Michigan State has been under intense scrutiny for its handling of Title IX cases and violent acts against women, including its suppression of some victims of of Larry Nassar, the former MSU sports medicine doctor who abused gymnasts and victims under the guise of medical treatment. The players, who are no longer at the school, were not named in the ESPN story.

After leaving the university in 2015, the woman changed majors and returned to MSU in January 2016.

In the wake of widespread scandal, university president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis have since resigned from their positions.

The Michigan State University sign stands at the Bogue Street Entrance.

According to Jane Doe's lawsuit, the aspiring sports journalist met three Michigan State basketball players at an East Lansing bar in April 2015, shortly after the team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

According to the suit, one player offered to buy the freshman a drink.

One of the players then invited her to a party at his apartment, leading her to believe her roommate was also going.

When she arrived at the apartment, she realized her roommate was not there.

The lawsuit says the woman was having a hard time holding her glass, though she said she did not have a lot to drink.

She also felt "discombobulated" and "she thought she might have been drugged".

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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.

Details of the incident reveal the woman was 18 when she encountered the players at a nearby bar. "She was afraid and seeing what was going on in the community - and that she would probably have more support now". The basketball player allegedly threw her on the bed, pinning her face down so she could not move. "At no time did she consent to the sexual activity", the lawsuit states.

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.

According to the lawsuit, the woman alleges that in addition to the incident, the university coerced her not to report to authorities. It was not clear why, or who the person was.

The woman said she was told by the counseling center staff that "if she chose to notify the police, she faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted media attention and publicity as had happened with many other female students who were sexually assaulted by well-known athletes". The counseling staff at no point encouraged her to seek testing for sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy testing.

She doesn't remember anything else, according to the lawsuit.

Counselors also reportedly did not tell her about her options that didn't include reporting to police - like filing a Title IX complaint - nor was she told she could ask for a no-contact order that would have prevented the players from being in her residence hall. She said her roommate was not at the apartment as she had been told, the lawsuit said. Eventually she was forced to withdraw for the semester.

The lawsuit states the student became so traumatized and depressed by that exchange, she dropped out of MSU even explaining to officials she had been raped and had been suffering emotionally ever since.

At that point, one of the players pulled her into a bedroom and told her "you are mine for the night", the lawsuit alleges.

"This is a Big 10 school so you know there are a lot of prospects here, a lot of people looking to go into the draft", said MSU student Sheridan Perry. As such, attorney Karen Truszkowski alleged in the suit, the school did not provide her client with equal protection under the law.


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