EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A woman who attends Michigan State University filed a federal lawsuit against the school Monday alleging that three former men’s basketball players sexually assaulted her at an off-campus apartment in 2015 and that she was discouraged from reporting what happened.
The woman and players are not named in the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Michigan State has been rocked for months by a sexual assault scandal involving a former sports doctor that now includes his ex-boss. Three ex-football players also were charged last year with sexual assault.
Monday’s lawsuit 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.
“Upon arrival, there was no party as few people were present,” the suit said.
The woman said she was feeling “discombobulated” and tried to “send a phone text, but she could not control her thumbs to formulate a text.”
At some point, the players took turns raping her in a bedroom, according to the lawsuit, which added that she had “no intention of having any physical contact with any of the people present at the party.”
“Plaintiff does not remember anything else until she woke up on the couch a few hours later,” the suit said.
She caught a taxi back to her dorm room and contacted university Counseling Center staff about a week later.
After the woman told counseling center staff that basketball players were involved, she said the staff made it clear that if she reported it to police “she faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted media attention,” according to the lawsuit.
“Plaintiff 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,” it continued.
She also did not seek assistance from the school’s Sexual Assault Program until 10 months later.
The lawsuit accuses Michigan State of failing to comply with Title IX requirements by not providing the woman with equal protection under the law and says the school “created an unwritten, official policy that created a culture in which male MSU athletes felt entitled and emboldened to commit sexual assaults without consequence.”
The woman’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, told The Associated Press on Monday that she is reserving comment to give MSU “an opportunity to get up to speed and go over it.”
“They do have it and they have reviewed it,” she said of the lawsuit.
A Michigan State spokeswoman declined comment Monday when contacted by the AP.
Last week, three ex-football players pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the 2017 sexual assault of a woman in an apartment bathroom.
Disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar is spending the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting girls and women who came to him for treatment.
Former College of Osteopathic Medicine dean William Strampel was charged last month with failing to protect patients from Nassar, along with sexually harassing female students and pressuring them for nude selfies.
Strampel oversaw the clinic where Nassar worked.
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