Michigan State student sues school, claiming counselors discouraged her from reporting rape

Posted April 11, 2018

A Michigan State University student filed a federal lawsuit this week alleging she was raped by three members of the school's basketball team and was discouraged from reporting the crime by a school official - who she said told her she would "be swimming with some really big fish", if she pursued the case.

The lawsuit says the assault occurred April 12, 2015 after the 18-year-old woman met the players at a local bar. She said in the lawsuit that she was forcefully thrown face-down onto the bed and was held down as the three players took turns raping her.

The lawsuit alleges that once they arrived at the apartment, the plaintiff realized there was no party and tried to send a text to her roommate, but couldn't because she was "discombobulated" and didn't have enough control of her thumbs. He then allegedly raped her from behind while she cried, unable to move or speak, according to the lawsuit.

"MSU has fostered a culture in which female victims are discouraged from reporting sexual assaults when those assaults are perpetrated by male athletes", says a lawsuit she filed Monday. She said her roommate was not at the apartment as she had been told, the lawsuit said.

Later that year, a woman claimed Michigan State basketball players Keith Appling and Adreian Payne sexually assaulted her in a dorm room. One bought her a drink and introduced her to his friends.

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According to the lawsuit, the MSUCC staff made it clear that the woman faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted social media attention if she notified the police. The counselor told the woman that she needed another person in the room with her. 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.

As soon as the basketball player finished assaulting her, the first player who told her she was "mine for the night" and a third basketball player allegedly came into the room, held her down, and raped her.

Jane Doe's attorney, Karen Truszkowski, said her client never reported the assault to police but she did report it to a counselor on April 20, 2015 at the Michigan State University Counseling Center.

According to the lawsuit, the woman in October 2015 "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".

The alleged victim received a refund of her tuition money after she explained the situation to university officials. His former boss, former dean of Michigan State's school of osteopathic medicine, William Strampel, was arrested late last month for sexually assaulting and harassing four female students and mishandling a sexual assault complaint against Nassar.

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In fall 2015, she stopped going to class.

A female student is taking her story to the courts, accusing the university of denying her of her Title IX rights and discouraging her from going to the police about an alleged rape committed by three MSU basketball players.

She resumed classes in January 2016, but changed her major, "as her dream of becoming a sports journalist had been destroyed", the lawsuit said.

Monday's lawsuit comes just days after three former Michigan State football players charged with criminal sexual conduct agreed to plea deals to reduced chargers that could allow them to potentially avoid jail time.

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