A new lawsuit alleges that three Michigan State basketball players (unnamed in the suit) raped a woman in 2015, and that the woman was pressured by Michigan State to not file charges.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the incident took place a week after the 2015 Final Four.
The woman never reported the alleged sexual assault to police, said Karen Truszkowski, the woman’s attorney. But according to the lawsuit, the woman did report the incident to a counselor at the Michigan State University Counseling Center, which she claims failed to properly advise her and even implied it would not be in her “best interest to report the incident to law enforcement.”
“I think the complaint kind of speaks for itself,” Truszkowski said, declining further comment.
The complainant, also not identified, detailed the alleged rape at off-campus apartment by three basketball players, who may or may not have drugged her and lied about a party to get her to leave a bar with them.
The lawsuit then turns towards the university and staffers at Michigan State’s Counseling Center, who urged her not to file charges.
The lawsuit says on April 20, 2015, the woman reported the rape to a counselor at the Michigan State University Counseling Center and completed an initial intake and assessment. When she disclosed to the counselor the three men who allegedly raped her were MSU basketball players, the female counselor’s demeanor reportedly changed and told the alleged victim she needed another person in the room with them. According to the woman, it was not clear who the additional person was or why they were brought into the room.
According to the lawsuit, the MSU Counseling Center staffers then “made it clear to Plaintiff 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 staff members, per the court filing, then reportedly advised the woman they had seen a lot of these cases with “guys with big names” and the best thing to do is to “just get yourself better” implying to the woman it would not be in her best interest to report the incident to law enforcement.
Further, the woman claims that she was admitted to a hospital in October of 2015 “for intensive psychiatric treatment,” and that Michigan State failed to inform her about a no-contact order, did not offer her any academic assistance when she was struggling in classes during the fall semester, and did not notify her about her Title IX rights.
Unsurprisingly, Michigan State didn’t have a comment on the lawsuit.
Michigan State has taken hit after hit this year, and it’s only April. In January, the NCAA began to investigate the school over its handling of the Larry Nassar scandal. Days later, athletic director Mark Hollis resigned after an ESPN Outside the Lines report detailed multiple sexual assault scandal in the Spartans’ football and men’s basketball programs. Following the release of that report, Michigan State’s students and student-athletes pushed back against the pithy responses by many coaches and administrators at the school. John Engler, Michigan State’s interim president, called the OTL report “a sensationalized package of reporting,” which doesn’t seem to jive with the details of this lawsuit and the revelation that a current MSU basketball player had been under investigation for sexual assault since before the beginning of the 2017-18 season.