BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 19-year-old Ferris State University student is off the football team after accusations he punched a female student in the face at an off-campus party early Saturday morning.
The young woman reported the assault to police and posted details and a picture of her split lip on Facebook Sunday evening. She included the player’s name and picture and asked people to “please share.” By Monday night, the post had garnered 1,000 comments and been shared 2,159 times.
“Last night I went out with a group of my friends, and at oakwood apartment (sic) … A Ferris state football player, punched me in the face,” the Facebook post read in part. “(When) trying to leave the party, his buddy… also a Ferris state football player, handed me $5 to keep me quiet.”
The woman went on to report that when she got home, about 10 minutes after the assault, she called police to report it.
“Today I was at the rock which is an on campus cafeteria. (the player who gave her the $5) stoped (sic) me and asked me where his $5 was and told me to stop posting things on my snap chat,” she wrote on Facebook.
“This is not the first time he (the assault suspect) has caused a problem with a girl,” the post continued. “I refuse to go unheard. I want something done about this!! I am so disappointed that the first time he only got a slap on the wrist. I will not stop fighting until something is done.”
Comments on the post, often passionate and profanity-laced, ranged broadly from staunch support for the victim and her decision to come forward to open hostility and questioning of the victim’s truthfulness and motives.
The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department said it took a report at 2:25 a.m. Saturday that an assault had occurred at Oakwood Apartments, which are off-campus.
A deputy reported that both football players — the assault suspect and the alleged briber —denied all allegations. The suspect told investigators he had a “normal” party and that no assault occurred.
The sheriff’s department said it will forward the report to the prosecutor’s office for review and possible charges.
A deputy said the sheriff’s department, which had no prior contact with the suspect, is not aware of him having any prior criminal history.
24 Hour News 8 is not naming the male student because he has so far not been charged with a crime.
Ferris State emailed this statement to 24 Hour News 8 Monday:
“Ferris State University has been made aware of a Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department investigation of an alleged assault of a female student by a male football student-athlete. The alleged incident, which is not believed to be a sexual assault, occurred at a local off-campus apartment complex during the late-evening, early-morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2. The male student-athlete involved in this alleged assault, who did not travel with the team to its most recent game on Dec. 1, has been dismissed from the football program. Further, these allegations will be subject to University investigation for possible violations of the Student Code of Community Standards.
“The University has reached out to the female student to check on her well-being and offer her support.”