On Monday, a lawsuit filed in federal court alleged three Michigan State basketball players of raping a student in 2015, a week after the Final Four loss to Duke, and accused the university of coercing the woman not to report it to authorities.
The case, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan Southern Division, alleges three unnamed players — identified only as John Doe 1, 2 and 3 — took the 18-year-old student Jane Doe home from an East Lansing bar between the evening of April 11, 2015 and the morning of April 12.
The suit is the latest black eye for a university and a basketball program under fire for its handling of allegations of sexual assault and violent acts against women. It’s also the third allegation of rape by multiple MSU basketball players since 2010. Only one of those incidents were reported to police.
Here’s a look at the three incidents:
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April 2010: According to an ESPN Outside the Lines report, former Michigan State basketball player Travis Walton and two unnamed players from the Spartans’ 2010 Final Four team allegedly sexually assaulted a woman off campus. ESPN reported the alleged gang rape was never reported to police or the university’s Title IX office, but the network said the victim and her family reported it to athletic director Mark Hollis, who told them he would conduct his own investigation.
Walton, who was a student assistant during the 2009-10 season, admitted he knew the unnamed woman and had a relationship with her. He denied raping her.
“My encounters with this woman were more than just a single occasion, and my actions with her were always consensual,” Walton wrote in his statement.
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August 2010: According to records obtained by the Free Press, former Michigan State players Keith Appling and Adreian Payne were accused of sexually assaulting a woman during the fall of their freshman year in 2010. Then-Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III declined to press charges in the matter, saying no crime was committed and citing insufficient evidence.
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2015: The latest suit came just shy of five months before the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) determined MSU’s handling of some Title IX cases had created a “hostile environment” for individuals who complained about relationship violence or sexual misconduct. OCR found there was confusion in MSU’s athletic department about who should report sexual assault claims to the university’s investigation office.
The woman in the case never reported the alleged sexual assault to police, said Karen Truszkowski, the woman’s attorney. But according to the lawsuit, the woman did report the incident to a counselor at the Michigan State University Counseling Center, which she claims failed to properly advise her and even implied it would not be in her “best interest to report the incident to law enforcement.”