Michigan State responds to lawsuit; lawyer for victim calls it ‘retaliation’

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Earlier this week, an unnamed woman filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that three Michigan State basketball players that remain unidentified raped her in 2015 and that the university influenced the woman to not report the incident.

On Wednesday, the school fired back in a lengthy statement detailing all the information the school had regarding the woman’s recorded interactions with counselors in the Sexual Assault Program unit as well as the MSUPU Special Victims Unit.

“At no point was MSU Athletic Department or the Basketball Program or Head Basket Coach aware of or notified of the existence of a Jane Doe’s sexual assault allegation,” the statement says, while adding that the woman “never revealed the names of her alleged assailants nor, until she filed her lawsuit, did she publicly assert that an assault had occurred,” and that, “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.”

The statement also says that the MSU Police Department was first notified about the alleged assault in October of 2015 after her father spoke with an academic advisor regarding her grades. It adds that, in February of 2016, the victim visited the Sexual Assault Program unit to receive what they determined to be “appropriate services” but that she did not appear for a scheduled meet with a therapist.

“To date,” it reads, “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.”

Michigan State’s response has drawn criticism. The woman’s lawyer claims that the school is engaging in exactly the type of behavior that discouraged her from coming forward in the first place. Experts in this field told the Detroit Free Press that this statement may have violated federal privacy laws.

“She didn’t move forward with her complaint because she was terrified of retaliation,” says Karen Truszkowski told Michigan Radio. “Now look what’s happened.”