Student Says MSU Protected 3 Athletes Who Raped Her

A woman who attends Michigan State University filed a federal lawsuit against the school yesterday alleging that three former men's basketball players sexually assaulted her in 2015.

A second player offered to show her his basketball memorabilia.

"MSU has fostered a culture in which female victims are discouraged from reporting sexual assaults when those assaults are perpetrated by male athletes, thus protecting the university, the male athletics programs, and the male athletes at the expense of the female victims", the lawsuit stated.

The suit was filed Monday in U.S. District in Grand Rapids and does not list the woman's name or the names of the players. Those three players incidentally are no longer with Michigan State.

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.

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The woman resumed classes in January 2016 and changed her major.

Michigan State University officials could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

The allegations were made in a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of MI that claims three unnamed male basketball players raped her in the spring of 2015 after the Spartans were eliminated from the Final Four by Duke. It was a few days after the team lost to Duke in the Final Four. Because of her interest in sports journalism, she accepted. Shortly after midnight, members of the basketball team entered the bar. After accepting, the plaintiff was introduced to the other players and invited to their apartment for a party. She was later escorted to a party commencing at an off-campus apartment complex which only contained a few people. At no time did she consent to the sexual activity. When she arrived, she realized there was no party and her roommate was not there. The student said she tried to send a text, but "could not control her thumbs".

She also felt "discombobulated" and "she thought she might have been drugged". The player who initially approached her then pulled her into his room and told her "you are mine for the night". "She was afraid and seeing what was going on in the community - and that she would probably have more support now". He then allegedly raped her from behind while she cried, unable to move or speak, according to the lawsuit. There, she says was eventually held down and raped by all three players in a bedroom. She claims she passed out and later woke up on the couch and called a cab.

The next morning, the student reported what happened to a counselor working at the Michigan State University Counseling Center (MSUCC). It was not clear why, or who the person was.

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After an initial assessment, the plaintiff told her counselor the perpetrators were basketball players, which allegedly led to an immediate demeanor change and an unidentified staffer to be brought into the room. The staff also did not notify the alleged victim her option to report the rapes to the Office of Institutional Equity, OIE, nor did they notify her of her Title IX rights, protections and accommodations.

She accepted a vehicle ride to the party from two of the players, including the player who had given her the drink, according to the lawsuit.

"Plaintiff was so discouraged by the representations made by the MSUCC Counseling staff she became frightened to the point that she decided she could not report the rape (s) to law enforcement", the complaint states.

She "lived in fear every day that she would see her attackers", the suit says. She withdrew from classes that semester and, according to the lawsuit, explained to university officials she had been raped and was suffering from the trauma.

Represented by Lansing attorney Karen Truszkowski, she seeks damages, an injunction, attorney fees and costs. None of the players were named in the suit.

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