Lansing State Journal: Lack of clarity slowing down investigation surrounding MSU football

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NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan State
Nov 12, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio stands on the field prior to a game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

There has been little to no new information for a few weeks now regarding the ongoing investigation of sexual assault claims made against members of the Michigan State football team.

The last real known piece of evidence was that the Ingham County Prosecutors’ Office was requesting more information from the MSU police department. This came just days after the team suspended staffer Curtis Blackwell, though it has not been made official that Blackwell’s suspension is linked to the investigation and the announcement from the school suspending three players and one staff member. And just last week, head coach Mark Dantonio said they he will be answering any and all questions when the picture becomes more clear.

However, there appears to be a bit of a hold-up in the investigation. Per the Lansing State Journal, there are conflicting records on the timeline of events along with the statement made by the university.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show the clearest picture yet of how the university responded to the incident.

In its statement Feb. 9 announcing the suspensions and the outside hires, the university said the incident was reported to police in “late January.”

However, the incident occurred around 2 a.m. Jan. 16, the early-morning hours of Martin Luther King Day, on campus at University Village Apartments, the woman’s attorney confirmed Monday. The woman reported to police about 2 p.m. the next day that she had been sexually assaulted, according to the university’s Clery Crime and Fire Log.

University spokesman Jason Cody said the university stands by its Feb. 9 statement and declined to comment on specifics due to the ongoing investigations.

By Feb. 2, the university had signed a contract with Rebecca Veidlinger to conduct the university’s internal Title IX investigation for potential violations of the university’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy. That contract calls for her to investigate an incident that occurred “on or about Jan. 15.” Veidlinger previously worked for MSU in its Title IX office at the time the university was under investigation by the federal government for its handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints.

The university spokesman Jason Cody mentions that on February 9, an unnamed staffer for the MSU football team was suspended indefinitely. While he did confirm that Curtis Blackwell was suspended by the school, he did not comment on whether Blackwell’s suspension is connected to the sexual assault investigation.

It was also that day when the university announced the suspension of three unidentified football players and the removal of said players from on-campus housing. The school, however, did not specify when exactly the suspensions were handed down.

Nothing new has surfaced since county prosecutor Carol Siemon requested that the MSU Police Department gather more evidence and information. No charges have been made and no arrest warrants have been officially issued. Any activity in the last month from the Spartan football team — spring practices, social media, disclosing of depth charts — has been kept hidden from the press.