MSU Student Sues School For Discouraging Her From Reporting Gang Rape

Mitchell Layton
Mitchell Layton
Author

11 April, 2018

After midnight, most of the MSU basketball team arrived there, including the three accused men. The sexual assault of the 18-year-old student is said to have happened a week after the Final Four loss to Duke. According to the woman, it was not clear who the additional person was or why they were brought into the room. He told her that her roommate was already heading to the party, according to the lawsuit.

"Plaintiff was drinking the water when the room went dark", the lawsuit details. She never learned of her right to ask for a no-contact order to keep the three men away from her dorm, according to the lawsuit.

When the woman got to the apartment her roommate wasn't there and there wasn't a party only a few of the guys' friends. She agreed and asked for some water because she was incredibly thirsty. "She tried to send a phone text, but she could not control her thumbs to formulate a text", the lawsuit states.

A second player offered to show her his basketball memorabilia. Then the first player allegedly pulled her into a bedroom and told her, "You are mine for the night".

The woman said she was crying, she couldn't move and couldn't speak. Although she did not consent to sexual activity, all three John Does then took turns raping her while she was held down, the suit alleges.

"When she went to the counseling center she was discouraged to the point where she was totally frightened and didn't feel like that was a viable option for her", Truszkowski said.

The woman did report the assault to a counselor at the Michigan State University Counseling Center, according to her attorney Karen Truszkowski. According to a lawsuit filed Monday, the players told the woman that her roommate was to meet them for a party there. The plaintiff says she was told by the counseling center's staff that, among other things, filing a police report would be an "uphill battle" that could create anxiety and and unwanted media attention.

The group "Reclaim MSU", an alliance of students and faculty calling for meaningful reform at the school, said the process remains "convoluted" for students who want to report instances of sexual assault and understand their rights. The incident was not reported to police and no action was taken against the players.

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When she told the counselor that the alleged attackers were three MSU athletes, the lawsuit states that the counselor's demeanor changed.

As a result of the incident, the woman "had become so traumatized, depressed, and withdrawn to the point that she was admitted to the Sparrow Hospital outpatient psychiatric dayprogram for intensive psychiatric treatment" in October 2015, according to the lawsuit.

She also did not seek assistance from the school's Sexual Assault Program until 10 months later.

She was given a refund of her tuition money after explaining to university officials that she had been raped and was suffering emotional, mental and physical trauma, the lawsuit says.

She returned to class in January 2016, and changed her major and goal of becoming a sports journalist. ESPN has reported that the school's basketball and football programs have improperly handled sexual assault reports since 2007.

The suit claimed that MSU failed to comply with Title IX requirements when it created "a culture in which male MSU athletes felt entitled and emboldened to commit sexual assaults without outcome".

The lawsuit is the latest black mark for Michigan State this year.


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