EAST LANSING (AP) — Michigan State University says the woman accusing three former basketball players of a 2015 sexual assault was treated appropriately by the school’s Counseling Center, and the school says it has found no evidence that she was discouraged from making a Title IX complaint or a complaint to police.
The woman, who is a student at Michigan State, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the school of failing to comply with Title IX. The suit alleges that the woman was sexually assaulted at an off-campus apartment, and it alleges that after she told university Counseling Center staff that basketball players were involved, the staff made it clear to her that if she reported it to police “she faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted media attention.”
Michigan State says its records show “that appropriate care and relevant information for a rape victim was provided to the student.”
“We have not found any evidence or indication that she was discouraged in any way to make a Title IX complaint or a complaint to the police department,” the school said in a statement Wednesday. “On the contrary, the student said she was then too distraught to discuss her circumstances. The counselor also suggested she visit the Sexual Assault Program unit on campus.”
The woman and players are not named in the lawsuit. The suit says the female student was 18 on April 12, 2015, when she met the players at an East Lansing bar. She was later taken to an off-campus apartment where she was told a party was going on, according to the lawsuit. The players took turns raping her in a bedroom, according to the lawsuit.
She contacted university Counseling Center staff about a week later. According to the lawsuit, the woman “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 school says in October 2015, the woman’s academic adviser learned about the alleged sexual assault through a conversation with her father.
“Academic advisers are mandatory reporters under MSU’s policies and the academic adviser promptly took the appropriate step of notifying the MSU Police Department about the potential assault,” the school said.
The school said the MSUPD Special Victims Unit tried to reach the woman to start an investigation, but she did not respond.
“An informational email was sent to her that outlined resources available to her, including Title IX information, options to contact the Office of Institutional Equity and relevant counseling services,” the school said.
The school says information shared during meetings with MSU counseling and psychiatric services is confidential, and that police did not have names or any information about possible perpetrators. The school says at no point was the athletic department or basketball program aware of the allegation.
A message was left with the woman’s attorney.