REPORT: 3 unnamed MSU football players in sexual assault case will be charged

After much deliberation in East Lansing, the Ingham County Prosecutors’ Office has decided that the three unidentified Michigan State football players will be facing sexual assault charges stemming back to an incident in January.

The approval from Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Carol Siemon means that authorities can now legally obtain arrest warrants and continue in the next phase to charge the players. However, an official at the East Lansing District Court said that this action will not happen on Monday.

The decision is a big one, and it comes roughly four months after both the school and authorities launched an investigation regarding a potential sexual assault incident involving a female victim back in mid-January. The names of the three players have remained undisclosed to the public since then as Siemon and her staff continued to collect any and all information and evidence to aid in their investigation.

“I have decided to authorize sexual assault charges against the three persons whose warrants were requested by the MSU Police,” Siemon said in a statement. “We are alleging that on the night of January 16, those three persons sexually assaulted a woman in an East Lansing apartment on campus.”

“(We) wanted to make sure were took the time to make the right decision,” Siemon told the Lansing State Journal, adding that her office wanted to review all the information.

In addition to the three unidentified football players, an unnamed staffer “associated with the football program” was also listed in the sexual assault investigation when it was first made public back on February 9. On that exact day, MSU director college advancement and performance Curtis Blackwell, who had been heavily involved in the recruiting department for head coach Mark Dantonio, was placed on indefinite suspension.

And just recently this past month, Dantonio opted to not retain Blackwell, whose contract was set to expire on May 31 after receiving consecutive month-long extensions prior. While Blackwell’s name was never formally linked to the investigation, it was widely speculated that he was the “unnamed football staffer” listed.

However, according to the Jones Day law firm, who launched their own external investigation into the sexual assault situation with the program, Blackwell was indeed the staffer listed initially when they report was first made public back in February.

Per the Day report, Blackwell “violated the school’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy by allegedly not reporting information learned about a January, 2017 sexual assault allegation against members of the program.”

That same report also talked about any possible involvement of Dantonio maybe having knowledge of the situation. However, details of the report claim that Dantonio never knew of the exact situation but reported to officials that something may be wrong, after he had a meeting with an unnamed player on January 16, the alleged night of the incident.

Blackwell, however, did become aware of the matter after speaking to all three unnamed football players involved in the sexual assault claim, and failed to report this knowledge to school officials or the police.

The external probe from the Day law firm also details of a separate investigation, one that involved now former MSU football player Auston Robertson. The former Spartan was facing criminal sexual conduct charges after an incident on April 8. After Siemon’s office approved of issuing charges, Dantonio promptly dismissed Robertson from the team.

Here is a excerpt from the report regarding Dantonio’s actions and handling of the Robertson situation:

Dantonio “took prompt and appropriate action upon learning from one of his players that another football player may have committed a sexual assault. …

“Dantonio’s prompt reports to University authorities … demonstrated his commitment to comply with the University’s policies regarding sexual misconduct.”

[You can read the full extent of the Jones Day report findings here]

Siemon and her office did release a statement regarding that staffer and how no charges will be filed against them.

“Our office also reviewed charges against an individual who previously worked for the Michigan State University football program,” Siemon said in the statement. “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.”

It was an extra busy day in East Lansing, as the Michigan State Board of Trustees were reportedly discussing various topics, among them being the football program and more specifically Dantonio and athletic director Mark Hollis.

According to a statement from board chairman Brian Breslin, the board and university superiors have “ultimate confidence” in both Dantonio and Hollis moving forward, sending a message that they approve of their handling of the numerous off-field situations surrounding the football program this off-season.

No board members nor Dantonio nor Hollis offered to comment on the action that took place at Michigan State on Monday. But university president Lou Anna K. Simon offered this about Dantonio and Hollis.

“Coach Dantonio and his team, particularly coach Dantonio, handled this in the utmost matter with integrity and with swiftness,” Simon said.

We urge everyone to stay tuned with regards to the impending charges facing the three unnamed football players.

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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