Ingham County prosecutor Carol Siemon announced Monday that the prosecutor’s office will press charges against three Michigan State football players for their reported involvement in a sexual assault that took place on the university’s campus on Jan. 16.
The decision to press charges comes at the end of a four-month investigation by Michigan State campus police; during that time, the three players—who have yet to be named by public officials—were suspended from the team and banned from team activities. No arrest warrants have been issued by the local district court; according to a court clerk who spoke with MLive, the warrants won’t be available until Tuesday morning at the earliest. The lawyer representing the victim in the case declined to comment past confirming the prosecutor’s decision.
Tangentially, Jones Day, the law firm Michigan State hired to investigate whether football team officials reacted appropriately when the assault was reported, released its findings in a 14-page document posted on Monday. The investigation was expanded to include the case of Auston Robertson, who was charged with sexual assault in April following a separate sexual assault allegation.
The investigators found that Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio reported the allegations regarding the January incident to the Office of Institutional Equity “within minutes of speaking with the reporting player.” It went on to state that neither Dantonio, athletic director Mark Hollis, or any member of the football staff “attempted to impede, cover up or obstruct the Office of Institutional Equity’s investigation into the underlying incidents.” Both Dantonio and Hollis met with the Michigan State board of trustees on Monday; following the meeting, chairman Brian Breslin told reporters that the pair have the “full support” of the board.
The Jones Day report also found that Curtis Blackwell, Michigan State’s former director of college advancement and performance, did not follow university policy, as he chose not to speak with OIE after hearing of the assault in January. In her press release, Siemon said the prosecutor’s office would not press charges against Blackwell, as the charges presented by university police did not “concern any allegation of criminal sexual conduct.” The ex-MSU staffer was suspended by the university Feb. 9; Dantonio kept him on for two additional months before letting Blackwell go last Wednesday.
The full release from Siemon can be found below:
The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office was presented with evidence of suspected sexual assault, from a January 16 incident on the campus of Michigan State University. This case was investigated by the Michigan State University Police Department.
I have decided to authorize sexual assault charges against the three persons whose warrants were requested by the MSU Police. We are alleging that on the night of January 16, those three persons sexually assaulted a woman in an East Lansing apartment on campus.
At this point, the criminal charges are only an accusation, and the accused should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Our office also reviewed charges against an individual who previously worked for the Michigan State University football program. This did not concern any allegation of criminal sexual conduct. After review, I have declined to issue charges and no warrant will be issued. It is our practice not to release names of suspects in denied cases.