A federal lawsuit filed on Monday claims that three Michigan State basketball players raped a student in 2015 and the university helped influence the woman to not report the incident to authorities.
The incident allegedly took place the evening of April 11, 2015 into the morning of April 12 as three unnamed players took home an 18-year-old student from an East Lansing bar. The timeline puts the incident about one week after Michigan State’s loss to Duke in the 2015 Final Four. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan Southern Division.
The details of the night, which are graphically described in a report from Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press, are included in the lawsuit. The lawsuit states that the victim went to a counselor at the Michigan State University Counseling Center after it occurred. She claims the counselor failed to properly advise her. It was also implied it would not be in her “best interest to report the incident to law enforcement.”
The woman’s suit claims she was not advised to have a physical exam, seek medical treatment or have STD or pregnancy tests. It also alleges she was not notified of her federal Title IX rights, protections, and accommodations.
“Plaintiff was expressly told by MSUCC staff that ‘if you pursue this, you are going to be swimming with some really big fish,’” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit says the woman then became “frightened” and did not report the alleged rape to either police or MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity. She also did not file a no-contact order and claims she was not advised by the university’s counselors of that option.
Things haven’t gone well for Michigan State athletics lately when it comes to its handling of sexual incidents. The men’s basketball program is one of multiple programs within the athletics department dealing with a stained reputation as a result.
Michigan State is already dealing with the resignation of athletic director Mark Hollis over the handling of multiple incidents while the men’s basketball program and head coach Tom Izzo have been under fire for the handling of a case involving former player turned coach Travis Walton.