KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Western Michigan University hockey captain could face time in prison for allegedly raping a student in December of 2021. This isn’t the first time he’s been accused of sexual assault.
For the first time, the mother of another alleged victim is coming forward and sharing her story.
Joi Labadie, of Kalamazoo, spoke exclusively with News 8 on Saturday afternoon. She said her daughter was sexually assaulted by Paul Washe and two other WMU hockey players at a party in August of 2017. She was 18 at the time and played soccer for the university.
“If I tell my story to my friends and family, they’re appalled,” Labadie said. “They’re like, ‘what?’”
She said her daughter told the university in January of 2018. According to Labadie, the university’s Title IX investigation, which ended that May, found two of the men guilty — Washe and a second player. For Labadie, their punishment seemed like a slap on the wrist.
“They were put on probation with the school, were told not to go around her and to see her at any point in time and they were told to write a three-page double-spaced paper,” Labadie said. “They gave them three months to write it.”
Labadie said the players remained on the team after the punishment.
“How could you not do the right thing at this point?” Labadie said. “Merely for backlash, for you, if you don’t. Even with hockey? How do you take these players back? If it gets back to the public, how do you explain that?”
Now, more than four years later, Washe turned himself in Friday on allegations of rape, which according to court documents, happened at a party last December. Washe allegedly admitted he had sex with the victim but said it was consensual.
Labadie said her family was horrified when they found out about the latest allegations.
“I know how my daughter felt,” she said. “We were mad. This is exactly why we went forward, so it didn’t happen again.”
On Friday, the university told News 8 that under Title IX, Washe can’t be suspended from school while the investigation is underway. He was indefinitely suspended from the team in December. He faces a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
News 8 reached out to the university to weigh in on the investigation involving Labadie’s daughter and has not received a response, as of Saturday night.
“It’s appalling that he’s still on the team,” Labadie said. “I mean, even now. I think coach gave a statement yesterday saying he’s indefinitely suspended. But it’s public knowledge now that this is not the first time. So, we’re wondering what’s going on. The school knows, the coach, he’s new, but why do you have any athletes on that it’s their second offense? Why is he still there?”
Labadie’s daughter wanted to go to the police, but never did.
“I think the intent was to take it farther,” Labadie said. “But she just had such a hard time and just felt so dismissed by the school, and obviously no outcome, that she felt defeated and didn’t want to move forward, which I don’t blame her.”
She said her daughter wasn’t protected by the university after the alleged assault.
“So, these athletes were obviously there longer than a year,” she said. “So, their probation and ‘do not go around her’ ended before they graduated. There was no protection.”
Labadie was just as frustrated with how school administrators reportedly responded to her concerns about the investigation.
“They were basically like, ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. “What you want out of this and what we have set in place are not the same.”
Labadie hoped there would be accountability in her daughter’s case after the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for the U.S. women’s national gymnastics team. Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, which will run consecutively with his 60-year sentence for federal child pornography charges.
“When we came in, we were in hopes they were going to do the right thing,” she said. “Given everything that’s going on, how could you not?”
Instead, Labadie said the university “dropped the ball.”
“The punishment was weak,” she said. “They continued to play. It’s a privilege to be an athlete, number one. There’s rules to be followed, there’s just ethical and moral rules, and they had none of that.”
Washe was released from custody Friday night on $500 bond. His next court appearance is set for March 9. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the sentence for Larry Nassar. We regret this error which has been corrected.