MSU: Counselors didn’t discourage rape report

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MSU Sign at the Bogue Street Entrance on a August Summer day

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State University is disputing claims from a student who says she was discouraged from reporting a gang rape allegedly perpetrated by student athletes to police.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court Monday, the student said she was assaulted by three MSU basketball players in the spring of 2015, when she was a freshman studying to become a sports journalist. She says she went to university counselors the next day, who told her that she “faced an uphill battle” if she went forward with reporting the alleged rape to police.

In a Wednesday statement, the university said that it had “not found any evidence or indication that she was discouraged in any way to make a Title IX complaint or a complaint to the police department.” The statement goes on to say that the student told counselors she was too upset to talk about what happened.

The university says the student was referred to the campus Sexual Assault Program, which the lawsuit also notes. The lawsuit also agrees that the student didn’t actually go to the Sexual Assault Program until early the next year.

At that point, the university says, the student was offered group counseling and a meeting with a sexual assault advocate. The university says she never went to an appointment with a therapist in the program.

The student’s lawsuit claims that even when she went to the Sexual Assault Program, she was never informed of her Title IX rights and options.

The university goes on to say that the student’s academic advisor, a mandatory reporter under MSU policy, told campus police about the alleged assault in October 2015 after being informed of it by the victim’s father. The university says campus police attempted to contact the student, but she never got back to them.

“An informational email was sent to her that outlined resources available to her, including Title IX information, options to contact the Office of Institutional Equity and relevant counseling services,” the university’s statement says in part.

The university says the student never told anyone the names of the people who allegedly attacked her — they also aren’t named in the lawsuit —and that she still hasn’t filed a Title IX complaint or contacted campus police.

The university says no one in the Athletics Department or basketball program was ever told about the allegations.

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