Sexual Assault Investigations Open into Michigan State Football Program

No details of the allegations have been released and no charges have been brought.
Published: March 2, 2017

The Michigan State University football program is being investigated by school officials, an outside law firm and local police after sexual assault allegations implicated three players.

The school has removed the players from campus and suspended Curtis Blackwell, the program’s director of college advancement and performance.

Those decisions were made after MSU police began investigating the sexual assault allegations earlier this year. That investigation is still ongoing, but campus police sent their initial findings to Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon Feb. 16 requesting four arrest warrants (for the three players and a university employee for obstructing an investigation), reports the Detroit Free Press.

No warrants or charges have been brought against the players or the employee, but a criminal investigation has begun alongside the school’s Title IX investigation. Title IX consultant Rebecca Veidlinger has been retained for that investigation.

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The university has also hired an external law firm to conduct an independent investigation into staff members’ compliance with the university’s Title IX policy.

RELATED: Stanford Lawyer Released After Criticism of University’s Sexual Assault Proceedings

No details about the allegations have been released and the football program has instituted a media blackout for the beginning of its spring practices. The players implicated in the allegations have not been identified.

MSU football Head Coach Mark Dantonio and Athletic Director Mark Hollis pledged to fully support the investigations and called the allegations extremely concerning.

A portion of the university’s statement, issued by spokesperson Jason Cody, is included below:

“MSU will take prompt action, if appropriate, in response to any policy violations or other substantive matters as a result of the investigation. One staff member associated with the football program has been suspended by the Athletics Department pending the completion of that investigation.

Michigan State University has made significant strides in making its Title IX program align with the best practices developed throughout the nation. Sexual violence is abhorrent, and no member of our community should be threatened in this way. MSU has been proactive in education and prevention efforts and is strongly committed to fostering an environment that encourages sexual assault reporting and supports victims.

Every employee has a clear responsibility to follow the university’s well-established reporting protocols regarding sexual assault. MSU will not tolerate failure to follow established reporting protocols, interference with law enforcement efforts, or lack of cooperation with any Title IX investigation.”

Read Next: How Title IX Complaints are Handled by the OCR: A Step-by-Step Guide for Schools

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