Grim Details Emerge in Michigan State Lawsuit

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According to a federal lawsuit filed on Monday, three Michigan State basketball players raped a female student in 2015, and school counseling services convinced the victim to refrain from reporting the incident to authorities.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the lawsuit alleges three players, identified only as John Doe 1, 2 and 3, encountered the victim, identified as Jane Doe, at a bar a week after the team’s Final Four loss in April of 2015. The suit claims that one of the players offered to buy the woman a drink, then invited her to a party at an apartment after “lying” to her, suggesting that her roommate was on the way to the party. After arriving at the apartment, the woman realized there was no party. She tried to send a text message, but had a difficult time controlling her thumbs, believing herself to have been drugged. The suit claims each of the three players took turns raping her.

Karen Truszkowski, the woman’s attorney, told the Free Press that her client never reported the incident to authorities, but did report it to a campus counselor about a week after the incident took place. The suit claims that the counseling center “made it clear to Plaintiff that if she chose to notify the policy, 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.” According to court filings, the counseling center staff suggested to the woman that it would be in her best interest not to report the incident to law enforcement and to “just get yourself better.”

Michigan State’s policy on relationship violence and sexual misconduct says that counselors are not allowed to report these kinds of allegations, either to the Title IX office or police. The Free Press was unable to confirm whether anybody within the basketball program or the athletic department was ever notified about the allegations.

The lawsuit says that the woman had been so traumatized by the event and its aftermath that she withdrew from classes for a semester and was admitted to an outpatient psychiatric day program.

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